West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has not given up hope on the team advancing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals but has called on the unit to dig deep following a horrendous start to the tournament.

The Caribbean team, who are the defending champions, was routed by England in the first match where they lost by six wickets after being bowled out for 55.  In the second encounter against South Africa, on Tuesday. after a promising start the team was dismissed for a subpar 143, which the Proteas easily chased down to win by 8 wickets.

The loss leave the West Indies rooted at the bottom of the six-team table, with a net run rate of -2.550.  With only the top two teams set to advance to the final four, the Windies are already facing an uphill battle to move on to the next round.  

“Well, we just have to do what it takes,” a dejected Pollard said following the team’s loss to South Africa.

“We have to dig deeper as a team. We have to dig deeper as a batting unit,” he added.

“We have to get wins on the board now. We’ve put ourselves in a position whereas from a run rate perspective that’s pretty low, and from a win percentage we haven’t won any games.

“So we have to win the next three games. We just have to take it one at a time and try to improve each and every time.”

The West Indies will next face Bangladesh on Friday at 5:00 am.

 

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard did not speculate on Quinton de Kock's refusal to take the knee, but suggested education is a major issue when it comes to the gesture.

South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup match, which they still won despite De Kock's absence.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said South Africa players were "taken aback" by De Kock's decision, with the batsman unsure whether the former skipper will play any further part in the World Cup.

Asked about the incident following the Windies' eight-wicket defeat, Bavuma's opposite number Pollard told reporters: "Me personally, I don't know of any player who didn't want to take it. I'm not aware of that.

"So this is sort of news to us or to me. But you know, you guys know our thoughts on this matter. It's something that we feel strongly about as a team and as a people, as well, and we will continue to do it.

"Each and everyone has their own opinions on it, but as I've always said, once you're educated, and you understand, we will understand you doing it, but I think education sort of is the key, and we don't want anyone doing it for us in solitude or to feel sorry for us.

"I'm not aware of which individual you speak about, but I'm guessing afterwards someone will increase my knowledge capacity on what actually transpired."

Pollard was then informed it was De Kock who had withdrawn his participation in the game and was asked if he believes conversations should be held with the South Africa star to educate him on the issue.

"Again, I can't speak on something that I don't know," Pollard replied. "I guess you guys know more than me.

"If I sit here, I'm going to speculate as to what actually transpired in all honesty. Again, if it's an educational thing, I guess then there's persons are wrong to educate.

"I don't think it's my job at this present time to educate. I think I have a lot more on my plate in terms of leading our team, and we're in a position where we need to win cricket games. I don't think that's my forte at the minute."

Pollard hit three boundaries, including a six, in a knock of 26 from 20 deliveries against South Africa, as well as going for nine off the only over he bowled as holders the Windies slumped to a second defeat of the Super 12 after their capitulation against England.

Temba Bavuma says South Africa players were "taken aback" that Quinton de Kock refused an order to take the knee and made himself unavailable to face West Indies in the T20 World Cup.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

Proteas captain Bavuma revealed he was only told wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock would be absent for the eight-wicket victory over the defending champions in the changing room beforehand and was surprised by his decision.

The batsman is unsure whether former captain De Kock will play any further part in the tournament.

He said in a news conference: "I think obviously as a team we're obviously surprised and taken aback by the news.

"Obviously Quinton is a big player for the team, not just with the bat, but the role he plays from a senior point of view and from an experience point of view, and not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn't looking forward to.

"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He's a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions. I know that he'll be standing behind whatever decision that he's taken.

"From the team's point of view, unfortunately we still have to get the job done. There was still a game of cricket there for our country, and it was important, as much as everything was happening, that we found a way to get into the right mental space and take it home for our country.

"I don't know how far it's going to develop. I mean, the decision that he's taken is only today, so I can only speak about what has happened today. It wouldn't be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute. That would be probably the coach and the selectors.

"But as far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players. He's still one of the boys, so whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his team-mates, we'll be there for him.

"If there's a need for further conversations to be had, I'm sure those will definitely happen amongst the guys."

New Zealand paceman Lockie Ferguson will miss the rest of the T20 World Cup after suffering a torn calf.

The Black Caps quick felt tightness in his right calf following a training session on Monday and went for a scan ahead of Tuesday's match against Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Ferguson has sustained a grade two tear and will need up to four weeks to recover, so the 30-year-old will play no part in New Zealand's quest to be crowned world champions.

Adam Milne will replace Ferguson in the 15-man squad once his selection has been approved by the ICC.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said: "It's a real shame for Lockie to have this happen on the eve of the tournament and the entire team is really feeling for him right now.

"He's a massive part of our T20 side and as been in such good form - so to lose him at this time is a blow.

"However, we are fortunate to have a like for like replacement in the form of Adam who has been with the squad training for the past two weeks."

Ferguson has taken 24 wickets in 13 matches for his country in the shortest format an average of 13.16.

 

 

Jos Buttler promised England would take a united stand against racism before their T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh – after South Africa's Quinton de Kock refused to take the knee.

De Kock was conspicuous by his absence from South Africa's team for their victory against West Indies.

An initial announcement that he missed the game for personal reasons was followed by a fuller explanation, after it became abundantly clear why De Kock was playing no part.

Cricket South Africa had ordered their players to take the knee before the remainder of their games in the tournament, and such a demand did not sit right with the wicketkeeper-batsman. South Africa said the 28-year-old made himself unavailable.

The anti-racism gesture, linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, is one the England team have embraced previously, and Buttler said there would be a team-wide message sent out ahead of their next match too.

Asked about the De Kock situation, and whether England would be taking a knee on Wednesday, Buttler told a news conference: "Yeah, I think our position as a team is we stand against any form of discrimination.

"What we would like to do as a team is take a moment of unity which we did at times during our summer. We all need to reciprocate the opposition. West Indies like to take a knee, so we wanted to reciprocate that in the first game.

"But yeah, hopefully we can make some form at the start. But as a side and our culture as a team, we of course stand against any form of discrimination, and we are very passionate about that."

There is no suggestion De Kock has taken his stance for any reason other than believing there should be a right to choose how and when to oppose racism. He has in the past refused to take the knee, saying the reason for doing so was "my own personal opinion". He may be asked to expand on that in light of being absent from Tuesday's World Cup game.

Buttler was asked whether it was the job of cricket boards to impose such demands on players, and said: "I'm not sure, to be honest. I can only speak about myself and our team. I think it's something we feel strongly about. It's an important part of our culture as a team, and that's all I can say on that."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter that it should be "down to the individual" and that a player should not be kept out of games for refusing to engage with such movements.

Whether England take the knee or not against Bangladesh may depend on what stance the opposition consider most appropriate.

Asked whether he knew exactly what gesture England would make, Buttler said: "No, I don't. I think it's something we'd like to do as a team. I think you have to get some clearance from the ICC [International Cricket Council] for that, as well.

"It's something we would like to do as a team, but I don't know the specifics behind it at the moment."

Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen sealed an eight-wicket T20 World Cup for South Africa over holders West Indies in the absence of Quinton de Kock.

There was drama before a ball was bowled at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday, as De Kock made himself unavailable for selection after refusing a Cricket South Africa demand for all Proteas players to take a knee before the rest of their games in the tournament.

South Africa secured their first Group 1 win, following a loss to Australia in their opening match, as they chased down a target of 144 with 10 balls to spare.

West Indies were embarrassingly bowled out for 55 in a crushing loss to England in their first game, but this time they posted 143-8 after being put in by Temba Bavuma.

Evin Lewis top-scored with an explosive 56 from 35 balls, with Dwaine Pretorius taking 3-17 and Keshav Maharaj 2-24 as Kieron Pollard's side lost their way in the second half of their innings.

Reeza Hendricks (39) laid a platform for South Africa after Bavuma was run out by a direct hit from Andre Russell in the first over.

Markram (51 not out from 26 balls) and Van der Dussen (43 from 51) then combined for an unbroken third-wicket stand of 83 to get the Proteas up and running in the Super 12 stage.

West Indies have lost three consecutive T20I matches and face a major battle to qualify for the semi-finals of a tournament they won five years ago.

Lewis lays platform as Simmons struggles

There were two contrasting innings from the defending champions' openers, with Lewis in great touch and Lendl Simmons struggling.

Simmons laboured to 16 from 35 balls after he was dropped by stand-in keeper Heinrich Klaasen on four, failing to score a boundary.

Lewis, on the other hand, raced to a half-century in 32 balls, clearing the rope six times before he was caught in the deep by Kagiso Rabada off Maharaj. Pollard made a quickfire 26 before a flurry of late wickets fell in the Windies innings.

 

Aiden makes his Mark along with ice-cool Van der Dussen

Markram and Van der Dussen provided an exhibition of how to go about a run chase as West Indies ran out of ideas.

Akeal Hosein (1-27) was the only Windies bowler to take a wicket thanks to a great diving catch from Shimron Hetmyer to see the back of Hendricks.

Markram played the role of aggressor, hitting four sixes, while the composed Van der Dussen ticked along nicely as South Africa cruised home amid huge doubts over whether De Kock will play any further part in the World Cup.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock opted out of Tuesday's T20 World Cup game against West Indies as he refused to take the knee.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) initially revealed De Kock was unavailable for South Africa's Group 1 match at Dubai International Stadium for "personal reasons".

That came after the CSA board on Monday came to an agreement that all Proteas should take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

Some players had not taken the knee prior to the loss to Australia on Saturday, and wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture.

CSA has now confirmed former captain De Kock refused to go along with the order.

A CSA statement said: "Cricket South Africa has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to take the knee ahead of Tuesday's game against the West Indies.

"All players had been required, in line with a directive of the CSA board on Monday evening, to take the knee in a united and consistent stance against racism

"This is also the global gesture against racism that has been adopted by sportspeople across sporting codes because they recognise the power of sport to bring people together.

"After considering all relevant issues, including the freedom of choice of players, the board had made it clear it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a stand against racism, especially given SA's history.

"The board's view was that while diversity can and should find expression in many facets of daily lives, this did not apply when it came to taking a stand against racism. The board will await a further report from team management before deciding on the next steps.

"All players are expected to follow this directive for the remaining games of the World Cup. CSA thanks all other Proteas players for agreeing to unite and make such an important public stand against racism."

CSA board chair Lawson Naidoo earlier stated: "A commitment to overcoming racism is the glue that should unite, bind and strengthen us.

"Race should not be manipulated to amplify our weaknesses. Diversity can and should find expression in many facets of our daily lives, but not when it comes to taking a stand against racism."

Quinton de Kock sat out South Africa's T20 World Cup match against West Indies on Tuesday for personal reasons.

De Kock played in the Proteas' defeat to Australia in their first match of the tournament on Saturday, but he made himself unavailable for the latest Group 1 Super 12 showdown at Dubai International Stadium.

Heinrich Klaasen took the gloves in the absence of wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock.

The board of Cricket South Africa (CSA) earlier issued a directive requiring all Proteas players to take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

That decision was made on Monday after some players had not taken the knee prior to the loss to Australia.

De Kock has previously declined to take the knee before matches. South Africa did not indicate whether his absence on this occasion was linked to the new instruction to the team.

A CSA statement on the directive read: "Concerns were raised that the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM [Black Lives Matter] initiative created an unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for the initiative.

"After considering all relevant issues, including the position of the players, the board felt that it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a united and consistent stand against racism, especially given SA's history. Several other teams at the World Cup have adopted a consistent stance against the issue, and the board felt it is time for all SA players to do the same."

CSA board chair Lawson Naidoo said: "A commitment to overcoming racism is the glue that should unite, bind and strengthen us.

"Race should not be manipulated to amplify our weaknesses. Diversity can and should find expression in many facets of our daily lives, but not when it comes to taking a stand against racism."

Steve Smith believes the return of "dangerous" England all-rounder Ben Stokes makes for a mouthwatering Ashes series.

Stokes has not played since July, having taken a break to protect his mental wellbeing while he also recovered from a broken finger.

The England vice-captain underwent a second operation on his finger but recently posted footage of himself batting and bowling in the nets.

Stokes was initially omitted from the squad for the tour of Australia, but the England and Wales Cricket Board on Monday announced that he has been added to the squad.

Australia batsman Smith has welcomed the news that Stokes will be involved, with the Ashes getting under way at The Gabba on December 8.

"I think any team's more dangerous when you've got someone like Ben Stokes playing," Smith said.

"It certainly adds a lot to their depth, but like I said we're excited and I'm glad personally that he's able to be back playing some cricket. It makes for a really good series."

 

Smith has been troubled by an elbow injury, but the former Australia captain does not expect it to be an issue when Tim Paine's side attempt to retain the urn.

Quoted in the Australian press on Tuesday, Smith said: "I've tried to bat every second day, or not bat three days in a row, just to take a bit of load off. On the days I'm batting, I'm batting for as long as I want to, which is nice.

"I'm still taking it easy at the moment. I'll build up again as we get closer to playing some longer format stuff. It is in a good place, it feels really good. I'm continuing with my strength work and my rehab stuff – I feel like I'm going well and progressing along nicely, so I've got no real concerns [for the Ashes]."

Afghanistan started their T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign in style with a 130-run rout of Scotland.

Having stunned Bangladesh en route to topping Group B to qualify for the Super 12, Scotland will have had hope of causing an upset in Sharjah.

However, any prospect of them doing so quickly diminished as Afghanistan dominated with bat and ball.

Hazratullah Zazai (44), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) and Najibullah Zadran (59) propelled Afghanistan to a total of 190-4 that always looked well beyond Scotland, who quickly wilted in the face of a mammoth chase.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman took career-best figures of 5-20 and Rashid Khan claimed 4-9 to bowl Scotland out for just 60.

The victory sees Afghanistan surge to the top of Group 2 at this early stage.

 

Afghanistan reach new heights

Scotland were swiftly on the back foot as Afghanistan piled on 55 runs for the loss of just one wicket in the powerplay and Mohammad Nabi's side did not let up.

Zazai and Zadran each cleared the rope three times and Gurbaz hit four sixes, the stand of 87 between the latter duo pivotal in Afghanistan posting their highest T20 World Cup score.

Scotland in a spin

Scotland's highest successful chase is 181 but they saw a promising early start fade badly as Afghanistan's spinners took hold.

George Munsey (25), captain Kyle Coetzer (10) and Chris Greaves (12) were the only players to reach double figures as Mujeeb and Rashid ripped through the line-up. A meeting with Namibia is Scotland's most realistic chance of a Super 12 win.

West Indies head coach has admitted that the game and situational awareness of the team was not at its best against England on Saturday but said the team will continue to be aggressive in its approach when they take on South Africa on Tuesday.

Ben Stokes has been added to the England squad for the Ashes tour of Australia.

The Durham all-rounder was omitted from the original selection as he continued his recovery from a second operation on a broken finger.

Stokes, who sustained the injury while playing in the Indian Premier League in April, announced in July he was taking a break from cricket to protect his mental wellbeing and allow his finger to recover.

Having been given the all-clear by the medical team of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the 30-year-old will depart for Australia with the Test and Lions squad on November 4.

"I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted," Stokes said.

"I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I'm ready for Australia."

 

Ashley Giles, managing director of England Men's Cricket, said: "Following a very successful operation on his finger and several conversations over the last few weeks between Ben and I, our medical staff and his management team, Ben called me to say he was ready to return to cricket and was excited about the prospect of playing a significant role in the Ashes series.

"Time and time again, Ben has demonstrated how important he is to the England team and having him available for the Ashes series is excellent news for all of us and, in particular, [coach] Chris [Silverwood], Joe [Root] and the rest of the players.

"Having not played for some time, we will move forward cautiously over the next few weeks to ensure he is fully prepared across all facets of his game.

"Ahead of a very busy period of cricket, we continue to remain mindful of the stresses on all our personnel, and our primary focus continues to be the wellbeing of all of our players and support staff."

The Ashes begins at The Gabba on December 8 and concludes a month later at Optus Stadium in Perth.

England are looking to regain the urn after it was retained by Australia following a 2-2 series draw in 2019.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has defended the decision to exclude Roston Chase from the team’s opening match in the ICC T20 World Cup against England on Saturday and insists that they did not misread the pitch before selecting the team.

In a rematch of the 2016 T20 World Cup final when the West Indies emerged victoriously, England bowled the defending champions out for 55 with Chris Gayle top-scoring with 13. England’s spinners took six of the 10 wickets to fall before their batters achieved the winning target in 8.2 overs.

The West Indies were unable to build partnerships and were missing the role of an anchor that Chase demonstrated while scoring an unbeaten 54 in the West Indies’ final warm-up match against Afghanistan. Playing anchor was something demonstrated he could do well during the 2021 Hero CPL season when he was the top scorer with 446 runs at an incredible average of 49.55.

When England batted, Akeal Hosein, the only spinner selected, was the best of the bowlers with 2-24.

Chase, a more than useful bowler, would have also given the West Indies another bowling option as a spinner in the match where spinners took eight of the 14 wickets to fall, the best of them being England’s Adil Rashid, who boasted ridiculous figures of four wickets for two runs from his four overs.

Still, Coach Simmons speaking with the media on Sunday, insisted that the team they selected was the right one for the conditions.

“I don’t think we misread the pitch. Yes, the spinners got some wickets but as you go along you have seen that the pitch was a good pitch,” he said during a media conference from Dubai on Sunday where the West Indies are preparing to face South Africa on Tuesday.

“You have to try and make the most of the first six or seven overs and then you have to fight until you get to the latter part. I think when you assess the pitch, you assess the squad we thought that the 11 that went into the game was the right squad.

“Yes, Chase got some runs in the game before but when were at the ground we assessed and we thought it was the right combination.”

 

 

Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

"We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

"Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

"But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

"We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

"Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

"This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

"The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

"When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

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