West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran insists the team can have no excuses for losing the third T20 match against South Africa as they were in a strong position to claim a win.

South Africa won the third encounter between the teams by a single run to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match T20I series.  At 96 for 3, at the halfway mark, chasing 168, the West Indies seemed well on the way to the target but were often stifled by Tabraiz Shamsi who turned in the most economical effort of his career (2 for 13 in four overs).

Even so, needing 44 runs off the last four overs, Andre Russell seemed set to deliver a win for the team when he smashed back-to-back sixes off Anrich Nortje but was dismissed later in the over after also being dropped.

Pooran, who made a pedestrian 26 for 28, and is really yet to fire for the series, smashed Lungi Ngidi over midwicket for six off the second ball of the 18th over but could not maintain that momentum and was dismissed by Nortje in a penultimate over that only cost 4 runs.

“I felt like South Africa bowled well, they bowled well in the middle and they bowled well in the last two overs of the game and I think that’s where they won the game,” Pooran said following the match.

“As a team, we are still building, we are still trying to bind as a team.  I didn’t think it was too bad, in T20 games partnerships form, you lose wickets, but I felt like today was our game to win in all honesty,” he added.

“We had that partnership, I was there until the second to last over with Fabian and we should have found a way to win that game.  No excuses.”

 

South Africa moved 2-1 ahead in the five-match Twenty20 series against West Indies on Tuesday, Kagiso Rabada holding his nerve to clinch a one-run win in Grenada.

Quinton de Kock marked his 50th international appearance in the format by smashing 72 from 51 deliveries, helping the Proteas to post 167-8 - their highest total so far.

Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen contributed 23 and 32 respectively, yet South Africa lost a clatter of wickets in the closing stages.

Obed McCoy claimed two in the penultimate over as he finished with career-best figures of 4-22. There was also a run out to follow in the next, the last of five wickets to go down for the addition of just 20 runs across the final 18 deliveries.

Evin Lewis (27) and new opening partner Lendl Simmons (22) added 51 for the first wicket in West Indies' reply, yet for the second outing in a row they faltered in the face of high-class spin.

Having claimed 1-16 last time out, Tabraiz Shamsi seemingly turned the match in his team's favour by taking 2-13, Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer (17) the batsmen to depart to the left-arm slow bowler.

Andre Russell blasted 25 in a hurry but his departure at the end of an expensive Anrich Nortje over shifted a see-saw contest back in favour of South Africa. Left needing 15 off the last, West Indies came up just short despite a final-ball six from Fabian Allen.


Proteas set the pace thanks to De Kock

De Kock celebrated reaching a personal milestone with a brutal display of hitting, his 51-ball knock at the top of the order including five fours and two sixes. The wicketkeeper-batsman is in impressive form, having now scored 266 runs in his past five T20 innings away from home.

Call of duty needs a reboot

The West Indies have batted second in each of their past 10 T20I meetings with South Africa, winning the toss in all but one of those games. However, the strategic decision may need a rethink before the sides face each other again, as they have gone on to win on just four of those occasions.

 West Indies have named an unchanged 13-member squad for the third CG Insurance T20 International (T20I) against South Africa set for tomorrow at the Grenada National Stadium on Tuesday.

The five-match CG Insurance T20I Series is currently 1-1 after the first two exciting matches of the Series. Two-time World Champions, West Indies won the series opener by eight wickets on Saturday, while South Africa fought back to win the second match by 16 runs on Sunday.

Roger Harper, CWI Chief Selector, said there was no need for change.

"The Selection Panel is happy to retain the same squad for the third CG Insurance T20I. With this series in the balance, we would like to give this squad another opportunity to display how well they can play together,” he said.

“We are aware that there are still a number of T20Is ahead so there will be opportunities for other players going forward.”

This series forms part of the West Indies’ international home season with a total of 15 T20Is as they continue preparations to defend their title at the ICC T20 World Cup to be played later this year.

The full squad: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-Captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, and Kevin Sinclair.

South Africa levelled the five-match Twenty20 series against West Indies at 1-1 as spin played a key role in clinching a 16-run win in Grenada on Sunday.

The Proteas appeared to have failed to capitalise on a strong start with the bat when posting 166-7, only slightly above the total they had been unable to defend in the opening game 24 hours earlier.

West Indies had cruised to an eight-wicket victory on Saturday, but this time around they were bamboozled by South Africa's slow bowlers, George Linde (2-19) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1-16) taking 3-35 from their eight overs combined.

Fabian Allen's late onslaught – the all-rounder smashed 34 off just 12 deliveries – kept his team in with a slender chance, but even three sixes off Lungi Ngidi (1-49) in the 20th over were not enough. The innings finished at 150-9, in the process ending West Indies' two-match winning run in the format.

 

South Africa had appeared on course to set a more challenging target when openers Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock (26) put on 73, the stand coming to an end when the latter fell to Kevin Sinclair (2-23).

Captain Temba Bavuma (46) continued the good work of the first-wicket pairing as the tourists reached the midway stage on 95-1, yet they lost their way in the second half of the innings.

The miserly Sinclair accounted for Hendricks, who made 42, and the promise of a late push was curtailed by regular wickets, the Proteas slipping from 122-3 as Obed McCoy (3-25) excelled with the ball at the death.

The real McCoy? Absolutely!

Left-arm seamer McCoy returned his best T20 figures in international cricket, aided by going for just three runs in the 20th over. His back-of-the-hand slower ball accounted for both Heinrich Klaasen and Linde as South Africa slumped down the stretch, albeit the stuttering finish did not cost them in the end.

Allen just Fab, but still not enough

Andre Fletcher did make 35, but the opener used up 36 deliveries in the process of top scoring for West Indies. In contrast, Allen rushed along at a stunning strike-rate of 283.33 runs per 100 balls. His late cameo included five sixes but Ngidi got him in the end, trapped lbw by a yorker from the penultimate ball.

West Indies opener Evin Lewis believes it was important for the team to get off to a good start against South Africa, on the back of a convincing eight-wicket win on Saturday.

Lewis himself played the role of destroyer in chief as he smashed a whirlwind 71off 35 balls.  The knock included a massive 7 sixes and 4 fours, as he quickly put to bed any notion of South Africa dominating the T20 series the way they had the Test series.

“The most important thing was for us as openers was to have a good start.  We went out there and got a good start with the first six and we pushed on to win the game,” Lewis said following the match.

The batsman who was caught by David Miller at long-off, off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi, admits it was somewhat disappointing to miss out on scoring a third T20 international century.

“At the end of the day, my goal was to get the team off to a good start and push on from there.  Actually, I was thinking about batting as deep as possible, probably coming not out, getting a 100, but I look at the bigger picture of the team winning rather than scoring a 100 and the team loses.”

Evin Lewis smashed 71 off 35 balls as West Indies cruised to an eight-wicket win over South Africa in the first Twenty20 international in Grenada on Saturday.

Rassie van der Dussen (56 not out) and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (37) helped the Proteas post a modest 160-6 as Fabian Allen (2-18) finished the pick of the West Indies bowlers.

A blistering assault from Lewis laid the foundations for the win as he and opening partner Andre Fletcher (30) put on 85 for the first wicket in seven overs.

Tabraiz Shamsi (1-27) claimed the wicket of Lewis, but Chris Gayle (32 not out) and skipper Andre Russell (23 not out) saw West Indies home with 30 balls to spare.

South Africa thrashed West Indies in their recent two-Test series, but these five T20 matches look set to go the other way based on this one-sided game.

West Indies, the reigning T20 world champions, won the toss and elected to bowl first at the National Stadium in St George's and kept South Africa's batsmen in check.

Left-arm spinner Allen bowled particularly impressively as he accounted for the wickets of Reeza Hendricks (17) and skipper Temba Bavuma (22) before veteran Dwayne Bravo (2-30) closed out the innings.

South Africa's attack were no match for the brutal hitting of the West Indies batsmen with Lewis, who shrugged off a blow to the midriff, reaching his half-century off 22 balls.

Lewis had whacked seven sixes and four fours by the time he sliced Shamsi's left-arm wrist spin into the hands of David Miller at long-off, but Gayle and Russell continued to pepper the boundary in a convincing win.

 

Lewis gives flashes of batting guru

With West Indies team-mate Gayle as his batting mentor, it should be no surprise the left-handed Lewis deals in maximums, and this innings was reminiscent of the six-machine at his pomp.

Too short from Ngidi

South Africa paceman Lungi Ngidi bowled with aggression but should have used his head. He bowled way too much short stuff, was promptly dispatched to the stands, and finished with 0-46 from three overs.

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he will not be overly perturbed by the din surrounding the selection of some senior players for the team, as a debate would have surrounded the squad regardless.

The selection of veteran players Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Dwayne Bravo has ruffled the feathers of some fans who insist the team should be more focused on developing younger players. 

With the T20 World Cup coming up, however, the position of the panel of selectors, and articulated by Pollard himself, has been to leave the door open for any player that can meaningfully contribute to the team winning a third title.

Gayle (41), Edwards (39), and Bravo (37) have been called up to the team ahead of a series of T20 contests, ahead of the global tournament, which began with a series against Sri Lanka back in February.

“When you look at if from a logical perspective if you go with youngsters there will still be noise.  No matter what you do there will be noise,” Pollard told members of the media, in addressing the issue.

“So, I think it’s what’s best for us, what’s best for us, and what we think is best for us going into a tournament like that.  If those guys can be assets for us, then why not get the opportunity to use the little bit of experience or a little bit of cricket that they may have left in them," he added.

“It’s a situation that we are looking to pick the best team.  So, these guys they play around the world, and we get the opportunity to see them play around the world and we wonder why they are not playing for us but then when we select them, we ask the questions, why are we selecting them?  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”   

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, has questioned whether West Indies and regional cricketers are aggressive enough with their approach to honing their craft and overall self-improvement.

The issue comes to the for on the back of a tough, lopsided loss to South Africa, where the batsmen, in particular, struggled to deal with the guile and pace of the opposition bowlers.  Many, however, will point to the team’s proclivity to succumb to batting collapses as a chronic illness.  From his perspective, the situation has left the former batsman to ponder about the amount of work and investment being put in by individual players behind the scenes.

He, however, admitted that the overall issue was a complicated and difficult one to assess.

“Is it that heading into a Test series we aren’t preparing well enough technically and mentally, or is it that when players have their own downtime they are not targeting key areas that are critical,” Adams asked on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Any successful player, at the international level or the elite level, who stays there for any period of time, would have spent all of that time doing remedial work because the cycle never ends,” he added.

“If you get exposed, you cover that gap.  When you think you have that gap covered you get exposed somewhere else.  You talk to any of them, the Laras the Ricky Pontings, the Sachins, they can confirm that they spent all their careers doing remedial work.”

Against the South Africans, the Windies batsmen were floored for 97 in the first innings and never managed to make 200 in any of the four innings against the visitors.

 “I would throw it out for consideration, do we have that mindset amongst our quote and quote elite players? I’m not talking about just international players; I’m talking about first-class cricketers as well.  Are they attacking themselves enough?

“Not just batsmen, bowlers, and wicketkeepers as well.  The one thing that you can guarantee at the international level is you will know where your weaknesses are.  If you are deaf and blind, then the rest of the world will know.  The critical question is am I as a player embracing that? I am taking ownership in a way that as soon as I have my spare time I am attacking myself, I am getting at my weaknesses because the opposition already has it.”

 

 

Andre Russell has been named among a 13-man squad for the first and second CG Insurance T20 Internationals (T20I) against South Africa starting on Saturday (June 26) in Grenada.

The matches will be played at the Grenada National Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. The first ball daily is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time).

Russell is a two-time T20 World Cup winner, having been a member of the squad which won the titles in 2012 and 2016. He has played 49 T20Is for the West Indies and his last appearance was against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in March last year.

“Andre Russell will add that ‘X’ factor to the team. He is an impact player with both bat and ball and lends greater depth in both departments," said Chief Selector Roger Harper while explaining the reason for the Jamaican's recall.

"The aim is to build on the performance against Sri Lanka earlier this year, to build confidence while determining our best squad and team as we run into the ICC T20 World Cup.”

 Trinidad's Kieron Pollard will lead the squad and have compatriot Nicholas Pooran as his vice-captain. The other members of the squad include Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Kevin Sinclair.

Fully vaccinated fans will be able to buy tickets for the game from the stadium box office and ticket booths on presentation of their vaccination documentation and their national ID, with tickets available at EC$50 per match.

Fans in the Caribbean can watch live on Flow Sports or via the Flow Sports app. Live radio commentary is available on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel and on a number of local radio stations across the Caribbean. Fans also follow live ball by ball scoring in the www.windiescricket.com live match centre, featuring the new live match blog.

South Africa welcome back white-ball captain Temba Bavuma but will have to do without Dwaine Pretorius for the five-match T20I series against West Indies after the all-rounder tested positive for coronavirus.

Following their series-sealing Test win in St Lucia, South Africa's squad travelled to Grenada, where all five of the matches will be played at St George's over the course of eight days starting on Saturday.

The remaining players have returned negative COVID-19 tests, but Pretorius is ruled out of the compacted schedule under recovery and return to play protocols despite being asymptomatic.

Wiaan Mulder – who took a remarkable 3-1 in four overs in the first innings of the second Test - will take Pretorius' place in the travelling party, having been retained from the red ball squad, and will hope to add to his solitary T20I cap. Similarly, left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks had been due to return home after the Tests but has stayed on.

Bavuma missed South Africa's dominant 2-0 Test series triumph, dislocating a finger after being initially laid low with a hip complaint, but the batsman is expected to be fit for the toss as his side look to snap a six-match winless run in the format.

West Indies begin an intensive period of preparation for the defence of the T20 World Cup in India later this year, with the South Africa series the first of three consecutive five-match rubbers.

Australia and Pakistan are also on the agenda for Kieron Pollard's side within the space of the next six weeks.

Star all-rounder Andre Russell is back in the fold alongside batsman Shimron Hetmyer, pace bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Indies – Evin Lewis

Lewis will be charged with providing the fireworks at the top of the West Indies order – something he relishes. The powerful left-hander is 11 runs away from 1,000 in T20Is. He would be the sixth Windies player to reach the landmark and the second-fastest in terms of innings, with the series opener set to be his 35th. Chris Gayle reached four figures in his 34th match.

South Africa – Aiden Markram

Opener Markram began the Test series with a fifty but could only contribute nought and four to a resounding 158-run win last time out. Nevertheless, he is likely to be in a confident mood heading into a format he relishes. Markram has hit a boundary for every three deliveries faced in T20Is since the beginning of 2019 – the most frequent for any batter to have faced 50 balls or more from a Test-playing country.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- West Indies will be aiming for back-to-back multi-game bilateral men's T20I series victories for the first time since March 2013, following their 2-1 triumph over Sri Lanka in March.
- Ireland defeated West Indies by four runs in the only previous T20I at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.
- West Indies have scored 62 per cent of their runs from boundaries in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the best rate of any Test-playing country and five percentage points higher than South Africa (57 per cent).
- South Africa have a bowling dot-ball percentage of 33 per cent in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the lowest of any Test-playing country and two percentage points fewer than West Indies (35 per cent).
- South Africa have saved 58 runs when fielding in men's T20Is since the beginning of 2019. Only New Zealand (61) have prevented more in that time amongst Test-playing countries.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes it may be too early to assess the full impact of a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.

Things looked to be on the up for the regional squad following solid performances away to Bangladesh and at home to Sri Lanka, which had even led to the team moving up the Test team rankings table.

However, the West Indies could hardly find a foothold in the series against the visiting South Africans.  They failed to reach the 200 runs in any innings of the two Test matches and were bowled out for 97 in the first innings of the Test match.

The coach will be hoping the performance is more of an aberration than an erosion of the progress made in recent months.

“It has been a setback.  You don’t know how big a setback until we do our remedying and come up against Pakistan,” Simmons told members of the media.

“At the same time, we keep making sure that sometimes you have two steps forward and one step back in progress.  So, it is a little setback we will know how big a setback with the Pakistan series.”

The West Indies will play against a visiting Pakistan in a two-Test series in August.

 

 

 

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy has been appointed as a member of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) board after recently being confirmed as an independent non-member director.

The 37-year-old Sammy led the regional team to the T20 World title in 2012 and 2016, memorably criticising the then administration after claiming the latter title.

Earlier this year, Sammy stepped aside from Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team St Lucia Zouks, moving behind the scenes to become a T20 cricket consultant and brand ambassador.  He is also the current head coach of Pakistan Super League (PSL) team Peshawar Zalmi.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI), it is hoped the appointment of the former captain will provide a fresh and youthful perspective to some of the challenges faced by the board.

“I am delighted to welcome Daren Sammy as an independent, non-member Director whose role will be to ensure that all the right questions are being asked while contributing to the shaping of new ideas and solutions. Daren’s fairly recent experience as a two-time World Cup-winning captain will bring with him a much-needed modern-day cricketer’s perspective, which should add valuable insights to Board discussions and decision-making. His appointment is testament to our commitment to strengthen CWI’s governance, and to utilize expertise from across all stakeholder groups,” CWI president Ricky Skerritt said.

For his part, Sammy expressed delight with the opportunity to continue playing an active role in West Indies cricket.

“It is an honour to be appointed as a CWI Director; this is another great opportunity for me to give my best to West Indies cricket in a new way, off the field. All my local, regional, and international experiences have prepared me to make a significant ongoing impact in West Indies cricket. I am excited and thankful for the chance to serve and look forward to giving back to the sport and region that I love so much,” Sammy said.

Sammy is one of three appointed Independent Directors approved at last Thursday’s CWI Board of Directors’ meeting.  The appointees will serve for the next two years. He joins Trinidadian Attorney Mrs. Debra Coryat-Patton and Jamaican Surgeon and University Administrator, Dr. Akshai Mansingh, who were both re-appointed to serve a second term.

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted the responsibility of leading the team has not had a negative impact on his batting performances in the recently concluded series against South Africa.

Brathwaite, who took over as captain of the team from Jason Holder in February, had his worst performance at the top of the order for some time, albeit against a rampant South Africa.

In two matches, the 28-year-old batsman could only manage a high score of 15 and in total scored 28 runs, which included an early duck in the first innings of the second match.  Prior to heading into the series, Brathwaite had averaged 33.43, including scores of 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka in the previous series.

The batsman has, however, rejected notions of added responsibility for the team impacting his performance at the crease.

“I’m not feeling any pressure.  I enjoy captaining.  I didn’t get any runs as the opening batsman, I just didn’t get any runs full stop,” Brathwaite told members of the media.

The player has targeted looking at a few technical issues and better mental preparation ahead of the next series.

“Opening the batting isn’t easy, but it’s a very crucial job because it basically sets up the game to make it easier for guys that follow and we didn’t do that and it put us on the backfoot for most of the time,” he added.

 

 

 

“We are sorry!”

Those were the words of Captain Kraigg Brathwaite after the West Indies humiliating 158-run defeat to South Africa inside four days at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.

The West Indies, resuming from their overnight score of 15 without loss in pursuit of 324, were bundled out for 165 thanks mainly to the bowling of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took 5-36, including a hat-trick that saw the home side slide from 104-3 to 104-6.

Kagiso Rabada was also among the wickets, taking 3-44 as the West Indies batting one man short, fell for 165.

Kieran Powell, who scored 51, Kyle Mayers 34 and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood, who scored 27 and 25, respectively got into double figures.

Brathwaite, who made scores of 0 and 6, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the batsmen, himself included, for the poor performance of the team who did not score more than 170 runs in any of their four innings. The batting was especially embarrassing coming off much better performances against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

In the first Test, the West Indies had scores of 97 and 162 and followed those weak scores with 149 and 165 in the second Test capitulation. Confronted with that reality in the post-match media conference, the disappointed captain could not hide from the truth.

“As batsmen, we know we went wrong. We didn’t bat well,” said Brathwaite, who revealed that they had planned to bat better and having consistent partnerships during the series against the South African bowling attack but said they have to come back better for the next series.

“We are very sorry. Obviously, the fans look forward to the West Indies doing well and we were disappointing,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not about winning but you still want to see the fight and we didn’t show the fans that fight. Myself included, we have to come back better and make the fans proud.”

 

 

 

 

 

Keshav Maharaj claimed a sensational hat-trick as South Africa sealed a 2-0 Test series whitewash of West Indies with a 158-run victory on day four.

The Proteas secured their first series victory away from home in the longest format since 2017 on Monday, bowling the Windies out for 165 at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Set 324 to salvage a 1-1 draw, West Indies collapsed on the penultimate day in St. Lucia following a battling half-century from Kieran Powell (51).

Kagiso Rabada took 3-44 and Maharaj (5-36) became only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick in a sensational over just before lunch, with the tourists retaining the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy in the afternoon session.

Rabada reduced the Windies to 26-2 early in the day by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, but Powell and Kyle Mayers showed defiance.

They put on 64 for the third wicket before Mayers (34) top-edged to Dean Elgar at second slip attempting to hook the rapid Rabada.

Spinner Maharaj then took centre stage, dismissing Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the penultimate over before lunch to join the Test hat-trick club.

Jermaine Blackwood (25) and Kemar Roach (27) added 40 for the seventh wicket, but Maharaj finished off the Windies with his fifth wicket by getting Jayden Seales caught at deep square leg, with Roston Chase unable to bat due to a quad injury.

 

MAHARAJ MAGIC

Geoff Griffin was the only South African to take a hat-trick for South Africa against England at Lord's in 1960 before Maharaj worked his magic in the penultimate over of the morning session.

He had Powell taken by Anrich Nortje in the deep on the leg side and snared Holder before Da Silva was taken by Wiaan Mulder at leg slip, sparking jubilant scenes.

The left-arm tweaker put the icing on the cake by helping himself to a seventh five-wicket Test haul after lunch.

 

POWELL A PLUS FOR WINDIES

Opener Powell was recalled for this series after being left out in the international wilderness since 2018.

He made only 14 in the second innings of the first Test after being selected as a concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner and fell for only five in his first knock in this match.

Powell, 31, showed the sort of defiance West Indies have been lacking in a 116-ball knock, but there was an all-too familiar collapse after he departed.

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