A superb bowling spell from David Wiese helped Saint Lucia Kings gain their fifth win of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and end any chance of the Barbados Royals qualifying for the semi-finals in the process.

The Royals won the toss and captain Jason Holder chose to field first, which looked like a good decision as the Kings lost two wickets in the Powerplay to the superb Mohammad Amir. However, Saint Lucia Kings captain Faf du Plessis once again produced a masterful performance, scoring 84 runs to take his side to a commanding 175 for 6.

Despite a strong start in reply, the Royals were sent into disarray in the ninth over as Wiese took three wickets, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope and Glenn Phillips all fell within five balls. Despite a late fightback from Holder and Hayden Walsh, it was not enough and the side finished on 154 for 8. 

Saint Lucia Kings had reshuffled their batting order for this game, with Mark Deyal opening, yet it was to have little effect as both Andre Fletcher and Deyal were back in the pavilion after three overs, with Amir once again getting early wickets. It was left to du Plessis to build a big score, scoring 84 from 54 balls, partnering effectively with Tim David. A late cameo from Keemo Paul with the bat saw the Kings reach a substantial total. 

The Royals lost Kyle Mayers in the third over but rebuilt with Charles and Hope looking confident at the crease. However, after three wickets fell in an over, they were unable to recover, losing more wickets as the run rate increased, notably Holder, who was looking dangerous on 34 runs off 24 balls. A rain delay saw their innings reduced by one over, and Walsh resumed play with a few boundaries to keep his side’s hopes alive. However, Wiese struck again and took Walsh’s wicket in the 19th over, his fifth wicket of the game,  giving the Kings the crucial win.

With this loss, Barbados Royals can no longer qualify for Tuesday’s semi-finals and will be playing for pride when they face the Saint Lucia Kings once again in their final group game tomorrow.

 

Jamaica international Kemar Roofe insists he is proud of finally making a long-awaited debut for the national team, despite a lopsided result against Panama.

The 28-year-old striker was among a number of players based in European leagues brought in to bolster the Reggae Boyz as the team looks to return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over two decades.

It was hardly the ideal scenario, however, as the team lost 3-0 at home to Panama.  The international window consisted of three games but due to United Kingdom restrictions on travel to countries on its red list, Roofe could only take part in the home fixture against Panama.  Both Mexico and Costa Rica where the team also had matches are on the UK’s red list.  Travel to any of these countries would have required a 10-day quarantine upon return to the United Kingdom for the players, with several leagues controversially opting not to release players for the fixtures.

Setbacks aside, however, Roofe insists his first cap was a proud moment for both himself and his relatives.

“It was a proud moment for myself and my family to represent my dad’s country of birth,” Roofe told the Daily Record.

“It’s a good experience to play international football. It’s a different style of football to the domestic game. It’s an enjoyable experience, even though we lost,” he added.

“We only had a few days to get to know each other and play the game. The two other games were in the red zone so we couldn’t go to those games.”

Following an opening-round loss to Mexico and loss to Panama, the team got on the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica. 

 Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper is hopeful the region will see the best of fast bowler Oshane Thomas following his selection to the T20 World Cup squad.

The 24-year-old pace bowler was once considered one of the hottest prospects in regional cricket after bursting on the scene with fiery spells for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team Jamaica Tallawahs during the 2016 season.

However, despite going on to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the last two seasons and 17 T20 international matches for the West Indies, Thomas is yet to quite hit the heights his talent promised early on.

In-between indifferent spells of forms and fitness issues, the player has taken 19 wickets for the team.  Thomas has, however, looked lively in the CPL this season taking 4 wickets in six games.  The player’s rejuvenated look has been enough to attract the attention of the selectors and Harper hopes the decision pays rich dividends come next month.

“Oshane brings that sort of x-factor to the team, we know when Oshane is at his best he is a real force,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

“We haven’t seen him at his best for a while, but we saw him coming to that point in this tournament (CPL).  A lot of work has been done in the various T20 series, behind the scenes with Oshane,” he added.

“When he played, we didn’t see exactly what we were looking for, but now we see a bit of the Oshane that we know in this tournament (CPL) and will feel that if he keeps improving he will be the sort of bowler that could make a difference for us in the right condition.  Hsis extra pace, his extra bounce, and when he is on song he gets the ball to swing at that pace as well.  So, we think he could make a big difference in the team.”

 

 

In-form batsman Sherfane Rutherford and spinner Sunil Narine were among a few players not eligible for selection to the World Cup squad after failing fitness standards, chief of selectors Roger Harper has confirmed.

In the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Rutherford has been one of the most outstanding players so far, scoring 201 runs in 7 matches, with an average of 40.20 and a strike rate of 136.73.  Speculation had linked the player with a late consideration for a space in the West Indies World Cup squad but, as it has for other players in the recent past, it turns out his fitness level was an issue. 

“As well as he has been performing he is one of a few players who did not meet our fitness criteria, so he was not eligible for selection,” Harper told members of the media, in explaining the player’s omission.

Narine, once the top-ranked spinner in the world, has recently shown versatility at the top of the order as a pinch-hitter and could have been a weapon for the team at the tournament. 

“Sunil Narine is a great miss for a team like this in a tournament like this.  Any team would miss having a bowler of that quality in the team but as I mentioned with Rutherford and some of the others Sunil also did not make our fitness standards,” Harper said.

Based on standards implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI), in 2019, players must achieve a mark of 40 in the Yo-Yo Endurance Test unless given a medical exemption by the CWI medical committee.  Another player that has shown plenty of promise during the CPL campaign, but did also did not meet the fitness standards, was fast bowler Odean Smith.

West Indies chief of selector Roger Harper admits it was a difficult choice to relegate talented all-rounder Jason Holder to a reserve position, following the unveiling of the 15-member T20 World Cup squad on Thursday.

Many were left astonished after Holder, who has had a few standout stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and international T20 cricket in recent months, was only named among four reserve players.

“Leaving a player of the standard and quality of Jason out of our final 15 was a difficult decision and it provoked a lot of debate,” Harper told members of the media via an online press conference.

“When we look at the type of composition we wanted, considering the all-rounders that we had and the balance, he was unfortunate not to make it,” he added.

“It was a 15-man squad, everyone couldn’t make it, different things were taken into consideration and Jason just missed out, but with a player of his stature and quality it was a difficult decision and one we didn’t take lightly.”

In 10 matches and three series against Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, Holder totalled 90 runs, had an average of 30, and claimed 9 wickets.  He, however, struggled in the team’s most recent series against Pakistan totalling just 2 runs and 4wickets in four matches.

 

Jamaica track and field star Elaine Thompson-Herah has her eyes set on eclipsing the long-standing women’s 100m record, but after adding the Diamond League trophy to her list of outstanding accomplishments this year, she is content to leave that feat until next season.

Once again, the Olympic champion proved to be in a class of her own on Thursday's Diamond League finale, in Zurich, pulling well clear of a quality field to stop the clock at 10.65.  The time was the athlete’s fourth run under 10.7s this season, the most times done by any female athlete in history.

The performance marked yet another outstanding achievement for Thompson-Herah who a few weeks ago claimed the sprint double in Tokyo, and also in the process broke American Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding 100m Olympic record.

However, it was a performance a few weeks later, a jaw-dropping 10.54 set in Eugene, Oregon, that set tongue’s wagging and raised expectations for a world record challenge.  The time was not only the second-fastest ever run over the distance but just 0.5 seconds outside of Griffith-Joyner’s world record, for many years believed to be unapproachable.  After a long, tiring but extraordinarily successful season, however, the athlete is more than content to leave that pursuit for another time.

“It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one. I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity,” Thompson said following the event.

 “I am really happy and grateful. I am tired now but this is my job. I would describe this season with one word: amazing, yet it had ups and downs. I have to give God thanks that I am healthy and that I could finish such a long season…This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind.”

Guyana Amazon Warriors moved back into the top four of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table with a 17-run victory over the Saint Lucia Kings.

The Amazon Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first, but they had to overcome an early wobble to post a competitive total led by Brandon King’s enterprising 77.

In reply, the Kings looked as if they were in cruise control when Roston Chase and Tim David put together a big partnership but excellent death bowling tightened the screws and the Kings succumbed to the pressure.

Having been supplanted in the top four by Jamaica Tallawahs earlier in the day, Guyana needed a win to reignite their competition. However, three early wickets in the PowerPlay put them on the backfoot as Wahab Riaz and Jeavor Royal made the early breakthroughs.

 King came to the Amazon Warriors rescue with his first Hero CPL 50 of the season but other than Nicholas Pooran’s 25 no batsmen was able to stick with King.

Once King fell for his sparkling 77, Odean Smith was able to add some maximums to take Guyana to a challenging total of 151.

Saint Lucia Kings were circumspect in their early reply and found themselves three wickets down with 43 runs on the board.  Gudakesh Motie’s parsimonious spin bowling saw him take 2 for 12 from his four overs to keep the Amazon Warriors well in the hunt.

Roston Chase and Tim David put together a boundary-laden partnership of 75 from 63 balls but just as it seemed they would take the Kings home, Naveen Ul-Haq and Odean Smith bowled four excellent overs to seal two crucial points for the Amazon Warriors.

 

 Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz got their first points of the CONCACAF World Cup final round, with a hard-fought 1-1 draw to Costa Rica, which was a tale of two halves.

Costa Rica went ahead early, but Jamaica found an answer to force the teams to split a point Wednesday at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica took the lead in the third minute when Bryan Ruiz weighed up a beautiful ball for Jonathan Moya on the back post. The attacker Moya spotted Jimmy Marin making a run and used his head to set Marin up for an easy shot over the line, with Jamaica GK Andre Blake still working to defend a potential shot from Moya on the post.

Yet, Jamaica was able to find an equalizer just after the halftime break. Left-back Kemar Lawrence got into the final third with the ball and plenty of space in the 47th minute and teed up a cross for Shamar Nicholson. Nicholson didn’t hit his header entirely cleanly, but that seemed to flummox goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and Nicholson was off to celebrate his second goal of World Cup qualification.

Costa Rica was on the break again in the 68th minute, with Marin breaking free, but his touch took him too wide and Jamaica was able to recover from the danger.

There was danger on Navas’ net in the 87th minute, with the former Concacaf Goalkeeper of the Year making a pair of interventions, including using his legs to sweep away a ball that Javon East was attempting to control in the box.

It’s the first point Jamaica has earned in qualification, with the Reggae Boyz set to look for more points in October when they travel to face the U.S.

 Costa Rica’s first match of the October window is away to Honduras and the Ticos will look to add to the pair of points they amassed in September.

Decorated Jamaica sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce insists there are no ill feelings towards talented young American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, despite plenty of talk surrounding the athletes in recent weeks.

In truth, the majority of the arguments have come from feuding sides of the Jamaica vs the United States track and field rivalry, which has amplified in recent months since the American burst onto the scene.

The flamboyant Richardson has certainly played her part in fueling debates in recent months, even if her performances have not quite lived up to expectations, the number of eyes on track and field certainly seems to have increased.

The American was initially expected to face a high-powered Jamaica trio of Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson at the Olympic Games, but ended up missing the top-billed event after picking up a one-month suspension for using marijuana.  At the event, Thompson-Herah broke the longstanding Olympic record with Fraser-Pryce second and Jackson third.

There was for Richardson and some fans, however, the sense of a missed opportunity and a much-hyped meeting of the American facing the Jamaica trio in Eugene two weeks later was presented in that light.  Things did not go as planned for Richardson, however, as she had plenty to say before the event but finished in last place.

The result was the same as the Olympics with Thompson-Herah finishing first, Fraser-Pryce second, and Jackson third.  However, it was Fraser-Pryce who went viral following the sprint as she was caught on camera passing an animated Richardson interview with a mirthful look and knowing smirk.  The fans had a field day, but she insists there wasn’t too much to it.

“I mean, seriously, it was just a look,” Fraser-Pryce told sports lifestyle magazine The Undefeated.

 “I was having a conversation with my teammate and she said something, and then I looked. But it wasn’t – it was just what it is. It was just a look, you know? It was just a look. Yeah. There was nothing more behind it, if I’m being very honest, there was nothing more behind it,” she added.

In her mind, the fiery mentality that the American brings to the sport is also good for track and field.

“I like her. I like her personality,” Fraser-Pryce said.

“…for us as women, we’re somehow supposed to just stand at the line, look cute and just run, [and] wave. We’re not allowed to express ourselves or show our emotions.”

 

Lizelle Lee produced another match-winning performance as South Africa Women earned a comfortable victory in the opening match of the CG Insurance One-Day International Series. The powerful opener top-scored with a purposeful 91 not out as the Proteas easily reached 157-2 off 39.3 overs. This was in reply to West Indies 153 off 46.4 overs.

Lee’s innings earned her the CG Insurance Player of the Match award following up on her CG Insurance Player of the Series award in the recent T20 Internationals. The experienced opener made her 21st half-century at this level and laid the perfect platform for the run-chase as she faced 127 balls and hit 10 fours and a six. She added 88 in 22 overs with Laura Wolvaardt who again looked in good touch before she was bowled by Anisa Mohammed for 35, which came off 65 deliveries.

The West Indies had one other success when Sune Luus was trapped leg-before wicket to left-arm spinner Qiana Joseph without scoring.

In the first half of the match, West Indies found the going challenging. Left-hander Kycia Knight top-scored with 39 off 78 balls, but was run out by a superb throw from Mignon duPreez at deep square leg.

Deandra Dottin, looked set for a significant score as she raced to 38 off 36 balls, but was well caught at long-off by duPreez, which gave leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk her first wicket. The South Africa skipper ended with 2-23 off her 10 overs to put pressure on the West Indies middle and lower order.

 The two teams will return to the same venue on Friday for the second match of the five-match rubber. First ball is 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

The Barbados Royals claimed their second win of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a 45 run victory over the Guyana Amazon Warriors. 

A strong all-round display from the Royals keeps their playoff hopes alive with three group games remaining. 

The Amazon Warriors never really recovered from a blistering start from the Royals batsmen who put their bowlers under real pressure after being asked to bat first.  

The Royals innings started quickly with 67 runs from the PowerPlay with Johnson Charles (40) and Kyle Mayers (36) getting their team firing early on. The Amazon Warriors pegged things back with the wickets of Mayers and Azam Khan but a stand of 48 between Glenn Phillips and Smit Patel put the Royals back in front. 

Phillips top-scored with 44 and he was well supported by Jason Holder who made 22 from just seven balls. When both fell within quick succession the Royals innings lost some impetus but they still posted a very competitive 185/8.

Romario Shepherd was once again the pick of the Amazon Warriors bowlers, claiming 3/31 from his four overs. Gudakesh Motie bowled with penetration to claim 2/33. 

The Guyana Amazon Warriors reply started badly with three wickets falling inside their PowerPlay as they reached 39/3 off the first six overs. While wickets fell it was Mohammad Hafeez who looked to hold things together for the Warriors. He made it to 30 from 25 balls before he was well stumped by Smit Patel off a wide bowled by Ashley Nurse. 

When Hafeez fell the Amazon Warriors needed 115 runs from 65 balls and the pressure was on Shoaib Malik to see his side home. When he fell going for a big shot off Nyeem Young there was no way back for the Guyanese side. 

Some late order hitting from Odean Smith gave some respectability to the margin of defeat, but the Royals closed out a comfortable win with a very strong bowling display with wickets shared evenly across their attack. 

 

After a lengthy absence from the team, Jamaica Reggae Boyz midfielder JeVaughn Watson is hoping to lead the way, as a senior player, when the team looks to bounce back from a tough start to its World Cup qualification campaign.

With two matches already gone in the hexagonal round, the Jamaicans are yet to get a point on the board following a 2-1 away loss to Mexico and dismal showing in a 3-0 loss against Panama at the National Stadium.

Even so, the decision to recall Watson, ahead of the team’s crucial clash against Costa Rica, could certainly be seen as a decision out of left field.  Despite once being a lynchpin of the national team’s midfield, the player has not appeared for the Reggae Boyz since 2019 and has not played much football locally either.

The 37-year-old, however, believes he can still be of value to the squad and hopes to anchor its efforts to get points on the board.

“I’m naturally a robust player, I break up plays try to keep the unit together, try to build a vibe leading up to the game.  Whenever we are having fun, you always get the best out of us,” Watson said.

“I’ll be a senior player, try to get the group together.  Try to go out there and be a menace to midfield, to break up players and move us forward, link with each other, and try to see what we can do from there.”

 

 

Defender Kemar Lawrence and forward Norman Campbell have joined the rest of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz after facing immigration issues upon arrival in Costa Rica.

Lawrence and Campbell were initially denied entry into the South American country on arrival based on residency documentation issues.  Based on the country’s immigration laws four groups of countries can enter the country with or without a visa.  Group one states that citizens of these countries do not require a Costa Rican visa. They only need a valid passport with at least one day left on arrival in Costa Rica with a return ticket.

Lawrence is a United States green card holder and Campbell is a citizen of Slovenia.  Residents of both countries are in the group allowed entry into Costa Rica without a visa.  Lawrence, however, lost his official green card documentation during the Gold Cup.   

Campbell's visa was expired, and Costa Rica immigration did not accept evidence of his Slovenian residency.  He did not have a Slovenia passport in his possession.  Since losing his documents Lawrence has received written permission to travel in the form of a stamp in his passport from US Homeland Security.  It was, however, not accepted by the Costa Rica embassy.

Assistance was, however, sought through diplomatic channels, through Jamaica’s Ambassador out of Mexico with responsibility for Costa Rica and the Costa Rican Ambassador in Jamaica, as well as Jamaica’s Minister of Sports, the Honourable Olivia Grange. The efforts eventually led to the relevant government minister in Costa Rica signing off on allowing both players to enter the country.

The Jamaican team has had a torrid start to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers following a narrow 2-1 loss to Mexico and 3-0 thrashing at home at the hands of Panama.  The team will look to get things on track in tomorrow night’s encounter against Costa Rica at 8:00 pm.

Trinbago Knight Riders cruised to victory in their 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) encounter with Jamaica Tallawahs, winning by a commanding 75 runs. 

The Tallawahs won the toss and opted to field first. Trinbago Knight Riders initially struggled to score runs as they were restricted by Imad Wasim and Veerasammy Permaul, but a late onslaught from captain Kieron Pollard and Tim Seifert ensured they reached 167-4 after the duo blasted 28 runs in the final over.

Jamaica Tallawahs struggled to build partnerships amidst some fantastic bowling from Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul and Ali Khan as they finished 92 all out against the defending champions. 

Trinbago Knight Riders got off to a slow start as Lendl Simmons and Hero CPL debutant Leonardo Julien batted patiently. The Tallawahs were firmly in control through some disciplined bowling, but Seifert coming in the 18th over changed the complexion of the game as he smashed 24 runs off just 8 balls, his partnership with Pollard amounting to a remarkable 62 runs off 20 deliveries. 

The Tallawah’s response was hindered by the returning Khan, making his first appearance of this year’s Hero CPL, as he took three wickets in the Powerplay for just two runs, including that of both openers, Kennar Lewis and Haider Ali. Spinners Narine, Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre further stifled the Tallawahs, with Khan returning later on in the match to pick up his fourth wicket of the day.

Trinbago Knight Riders now have four wins in this year’s Hero CPL as they look to defend their title 

 

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