The key to the West Indies winning their CG Insurance One-Day International series against Ireland will be the ability to maintain wickets in hand in order to launch at the back-end of the innings, according to opening batsman and vice-captain Shai Hope.

The West Indies top-order batsmen have experienced difficulties with the moisture on the Sabina Park pitch, in the first two games of the series, after losing the toss and being asked to bat by Ireland on both occasions.

“We all know that in the morning time, there’s a lot of moisture in the pitch and it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t get to win the toss in the first two games,” he said.

Still, Hope emphasized the importance of trying to battle through the conditions, regardless of the result of the toss.

“Whether we win the toss or not, we have to do whatever we do, first, to the best of our ability. The key is to make sure we do it better this game because we know it is a series decider,” Hope added.

When asked about the average batting performance in the series so far, Hope once again pointed to difficult conditions.

“I think anyone who understands cricket can see that conditions aren’t conducive to stroke-play. It’s not a free-flowing wicket, especially in the morning at Sabina Park. It’s just important for us as batters to adapt to that as fast as we can. It’s not easy but we still have to find a way,” Hope added.

Finally, he offered possible solutions for the West Indies' batting woes.

“It’s just important for us to find a way, whether it’s putting the bowlers under more pressure or trying to run more singles in the middle period. I also think it’s important for us to maintain wickets in the middle so we can launch at the back-end because, at the end of the innings, the wicket tends to get a lot better,” Hope said.

The third and final CG Insurance ODI between The West Indies and Ireland takes place on Sunday at Sabina Park at 9:15 am Jamaica Time.

The series is currently locked at 1-1.

 

The ODI series between Pakistan and the West Indies have been postponed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the visiting delegation. Five additional members of the touring party tested positive for the virus after PCR tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

The West Indies white-ball tour is at risk of being cancelled after five additional members of the touring party tested positive for Covid-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves as well as Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick and team physician Dr Akshai Mansingh all returned positive results and will now undergo a period of self-isolation. Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, and Kyle Mayers had tested positive prior to the start of the series are also in isolation.

With a total of six players now ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19 and a finger injury to Devon Thomas (sustained in the 1st T20I), CWI and PCB Officials met Thursday morning, after all members of the touring party were tested again, to determine whether the tour can continue.

According to sources, it was decided that the final T20 will be played but the ODI series could be called off if there is a further outbreak among the West Indies players.

The West Indies trail 0-2 in the T20 having lost the first match on December 13 by 63 runs and the second on December 14, by nine runs.

 

The West Indies lost the first T20 International against Pakistan by 63 runs in Karachi on Monday. Chasing 201 for victory, the Caribbean men folded for 137 in 19 overs.

The West Indies lost too many wickets early with Brandon King (1), Nicholas Pooran (18) and Devon Thomas (2) all back in the hutch within the first six overs. It would only get worse for the visitors, who slumped to 60-5 after losing Shai Hope for 31 and Shamarh Brooks for five within three balls of the 10th over bowled by Shabad Khan.

Not even the in-form Rovman Powell could rescue the West Indies. Powell hit a four and two sixes before he, too, fell to Khan for 23 off 15 balls.

His was the seventh-wicket to fall after Dominic Drakes had been dismissed by Haris Rauf for five.

Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith provided some rearguard resistance with a partnership of 46 that was eventually broken when Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Smith for 24 with the West Indies still needing 67 from the last two overs.

Romario Shepherd went next ball, bowled for 21 by Mohammad Wasim, who would later bowl Oshane Thomas for one, to finish with 4-40.

Shabad Khan took 3-17 from his four overs.

Earlier, half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Man-of-the-Match Haider Ali had steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs after Nicholas Pooran won the toss and sent the home team to bat.

The visitors had immediate success when Babar Azam was dismissed in the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein, who got the Pakistan captain to nick one into the gloves of Shai Hope behind the stumps.

The West Indies had further success in the fifth over when Fahkar Azam skied a Romario Shepherd delivery and was caught by Shamarh Brooks for 10 to have Pakistan at 35-2.

Despite the loss of those two wickets, Pakistan maintained a healthy strike rate with Rizwan and Ali putting together a stand of 105 in 62 balls before Rizwan was caught in the deep by Odean Smith, who gifted Shepherd with his second wicket of the match.

Rizwan ran well between the wickets and hit 10 fours in his score of 78 from 52 balls.

The West Indies fought back with the wickets of Asif Ali removed by Oshane Thomas for 1 and Iftikhar Ahmed dismissed by Smith for seven as Pakistan slipped from 140-3 to 161-5.

However, Ali and Mohammad Nawaz, kept Pakistan above nine an over, the latter being rather brutal hitting three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 10-ball 30.

Between them, they scored 30 from 11 balls before Ali was the last man out for 68 in the 20th over bowled by Dominic Drakes.

Drakes ended with figures of 1-43 from his four overs. Smith proved expensive with 1-52 from his four while Shepherd was the best of the bowlers with 2-43. Twenty-one of those runs came off his last over, the 19th of the innings.

 

Injury has forced Kieron Pollard out of the West Indies’ white-ball tour of Pakistan later this month. Pollard suffered the injury during the recent ICC T20 World Cup and has not sufficiently recovered in time for the tour that runs from December 13-22.

Half-centuries from Shai Hope and Jeremy Solozano proved to be the foundation for Team Brathwaite’s first innings score of 280-4 at stumps on the first day of the second BestvBest match against Team Blackwood at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Monday.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who opened the batting with Solozano, also scored a half-century before he retired hurt after he and Solozano had taken Team Brathwaite to 98-0 at lunch. Brathwaite faced 118 balls and struck six fours and a six but did not return to the crease after lunch.

Solozano, who was on 34 at the interval, and Shamarh Brooks took the score to 120 when the latter was dismissed by Nial Smith for 11. Solozano eventually got out to the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall for 74.

Hope, who had joined Solozano and the crease after Brooks’ dismissal, eventually retired on 71. Kyle Mayers scored 45 before he was dismissed by Jayden Seales for 45.

Joshua Da Silva (10) and Alzarri Joseph (0) are the batsmen at the crease at stumps.

Seales was the best of the bowlers with 2-28.

 

Legendary West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon believes the Test team will be forced to continue its search for an opening batsman as the current selections have not produced a great many positive results to date.

Since the team's successful tour of Bangladesh in February three players, John Campbell, Shai Hope, and Kieran Powell have been paired at the top of the innings with West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

To date, the pairing with the Brathwaite has not bred much success.  Campbell has averaged 18.5 in eight innings, Powell 14.57 in seven innings, and Hope 15 in the one match played so far.  The results have often left the team well short of a solid start that has not been a feature of its play in recent times.

“I still think we need to find another opener, we are still looking for an opener and one more top-class batsman in the middle,” Dujon told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Right now we are not getting the results, we need good open partnerships and we have not been getting that,” he added.

Dujon believes that so far, the openers paired with Brathwaite have been plagued by shortcomings with playing the new ball.

“I just don’t get the feeling that he is playing down the right line, as an opening batsman playing a moving ball, I don’t think he gets down the wicket far enough,” he said of Powell.

Having only recently returned to the team, Hope has also been tried in the position.  While he certainly believes that Hope should have a spot in the team, Dujon is convinced it is not at the top of the innings.

“He’s a very good player but he is not an opener.  His style of play to open the batting in limited over cricket is fine.  He should be in this batting line-up but somewhere around four or so.”

 

 

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots got their 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign off to a winning start with a comprehensive 21 run win over the Barbados Royals.

Barbados Royals won the toss and put the Patriots in to bat but despite a flurry of early wickets, a fantastic 115 run partnership between DJ Bravo and Sherfane Rutherford ensured the Patriots set the highest total of the tournament so far with 175-5.

In reply, the Patriots were never under threat as they produced an excellent bowling display to keep the shackles on the Royals throughout.

The Royals took full advantage of their decision to field first by removing both openers, Evin Lewis and Devon Thomas, in the first three overs before Oshane Thomas bowled Chris Gayle to leave the Patriots teetering at 38-3 at the end of the PowerPlay.

Bowling with real zip, Oshane Thomas was to strike once more removing Asif Ali in the eighth over as his hostile spell resulted in exemplary figures of 3-22 from his four overs.

Patriots captain Bravo entered at the fall of the fourth wicket and along with Rutherford, they consolidated the innings before exploding into life in the final seven overs.

Their 115-run partnership in 70 balls ensured the Patriots laid a platform for Fabian Allen to add late fireworks at the death to power the Patriots to a very imposing 175-5

Much like the Royals, the Patriots made early inroads with their bowling dismissing both openers inside the first three overs. Although they needed a calamitous run-out to get them on their way when Johnson Charles found himself at the same end as Glenn Phillips.

Through the middle overs, the Patriots put a stranglehold on the game forcing the run rate up and putting pressure on the Royals batsmen to play high-risk shots.

Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers fell without making a significant indent on the scorecard and although Shai Hope anchored the innings with a well-constructed 44 his dismissal with six overs to go left too much to do for the remaining batsmen.

Azam Khan showed a few signs of his potential with some late blows, but the Patriots closed out the Royals innings with minimum fuss.

Scores: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 175-5 (Rutherford 53,  Bravo 47*; Cottrell 2-39, Drakes 2-13) beat Barbados Royals 154-7 (Hope 44, Khan 28; Thomas 3-22, Amir 1-20) by 21 runs.

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted returning batsman Shai Hope is in a good frame of mind, despite a disappointing return to the Test area against South Africa.

Hope spent several months out of the team, after being dropped in November of last year, working on technical and mental issues following a poor run of form.

The 27-year-old’s return against South Africa last week, however, was a baptism of fire, so to speak, as he was uprooted for scores of 15 and 12.  Hope, who opened in the first innings and batted third in the second, was, however, far from the only batsman who struggled on the day with the team only managing 97 in the first innings.

Ahead of the start of the second Test, on Friday, however, Brathwaite has given assurances that the batsman is confident and mentally in good shape.

“Just like any batsman, it’s important how they are feeling.  He is feeling good at the top but I back him for whichever position, whether opening or number 5, I know he will do a good job,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“He’s always up for the challenge and he’s up for the challenge for any position, opening is obviously different but he’s ready for any position.  He is in a good space and that’s one of the main things.  Once the batter has that positive mindset and is confident then that’s the way forward.”

Hope will be looking to replicate some of the form from the Windies Best vs Best practice match where he impressed selectors with a century.

 

Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje took nine wickets between them as South Africa bowled the West Indies out for 97 shortly after lunch on the opening day of first Betway Test at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

After West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a grassy pitch, Ngidi playing in his 10th Test match took 5-19 as he tore through the West Indies middle-order that was left exposed after Nortje (4-35) claimed the wickets of both openers – Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite, who each made 15.

Kagiso Rabada removed Nkrumah Bonner for 10 and Nortje took the wicket of Kyle Mayers for 1 to leave the home side 48 for 4 at lunch.

On the resumption, South Africa wrapped up the rest of the West Indies batting as only Jason Holder, 20, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 13, provided any resistance to the accurate South African attack.

The West Indies troubles were compounded by news that Bonner, who was struck on the helmet, the first ball he faced bowled by Nortje, has suffered a concussion and will take no further part in the match. He will be replaced by Kieran Powell.

Recalled West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, has targeted making a solid start on his return to Test cricket ahead of the team’s series against South Africa, which bowls off on Thursday.

The 27-year-old batsman last played for the red ball team in July of last year, after being dropped for a poor run of form in Test cricket ahead of the New Zealand series, in November of last year.

After taking the time off to focus on a few technical inconsistencies and fine-tuning his mental approach, Hope was selected as part of a final 13-man squad for the upcoming Test series earlier this week.

 The batsman impressed selectors with his performance in the West Indies Best vs Best practice match, where he scored 79 in the first innings and 104 in the second.  In addition to that, he also made 68 in a practice match against Sri Lanka earlier this year.  The player is hoping that kind of form translates if he takes the pitch for the upcoming series.

“I want to be clearer in my thought processes and obviously, achieve overall success.  I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and start a fresh book, so hopefully, I can hit the ground running if I get a chance to go out there,” Hope told members of the media.

“Cricket covers different aspects, both technical and mental.  So, I have been working on different things.  The main thing is just to get success out there and I believe in finding a way.  I just need to find a way to score runs for the team.”

 

Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, and Jayden Seales have been included in a provisional 17-man squad for the upcoming Betway Test Series against South Africa set to begin on June 10. Opening batsman, John Campbell, however, has not made the cut.

Noted cricket commentator and pundit, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, believes batsman Shai Hope should be a definite selection for the 13-man West Indies squad, which will face South Africa in a few days time.

The 27-year-old batsman, who was dropped from the team after a poor run of form last November, has looked sharp since returning to the fold.  Against Sri Lanka, in March, Hope slammed 258 runs in the three-match series, including a shot-filled 110.

He certainly looks to have taken that type of form into red-ball cricket with the West Indies Best vs Best four-day practice match this week.  Hope made 79 in the first innings and got another century, 104, in the second.

Interestingly, however, because of a lack of quality options in the position, Perreira believes Hope can be used as an opener alongside West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite for the upcoming series.

“It’s been a little mystery why they didn’t want to use him as an opener.  If you have stacks of openers then you probably don’t want to sacrifice a middle-order batsman,” Perreira told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“However, when the cupboard is very bare, it’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s not magical thinking, Hope has definitely got to play…I certainly would be opening with Brathwaite and Hope.”

Hope opened at the top of the innings for the four-day practice match.

West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, is happy to be scoring runs again on the back of an enterprising, unbeaten century on the second day of the Best v Best four-day match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

After scoring 79 in the first innings, Hope stroked a fluid 104 from 132 balls, a total that included 9 fours and six 6s.  The total anchored Jermaine Blackwood XI’s 197 for 3 in the second innings, for an overall lead of 283 runs.  Earlier, they bowled out Jahmar Hamilton XI for 178 in their first innings.  Blackwood’s XI made 264 in the first innings.

  “It’s about making sure the bowlers don’t settle and almost putting pressure back onto them. So the key is to make sure I can stay within my game plan. Obviously, the situation of the game would dictate how I play in certain passages but more or less that is the of play I will try to portray, so hopefully, it works out in the future, and hopefully, I can continue in this vein and continue to score runs,” Hope said following the days play.

The batsman has not played a Test since the series against England last year and was dropped from the team ahead of the New Zealand series following a poor run of form.  Since returning to the team the batsman has looked in good nick, however, and will be eyeing a return to the Test team.

“For me, personally, I’m just happy to get those run I need in the red-ball format.  So, if I can continue that when I get the opportunity to play in the Test team if it comes, I’m definitely going to grab it with both hands and score as many runs as possible.”

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