West Indies Women all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, insists the team is not yet feeling any pressure despite suffering a second consecutive loss at the ICC Women’s World Cup on Monday.

Against top-ranked Australia, the Windies found very little joy and suffered a lopsided 7-wickets loss in their fourth match of the tournament.  Prior to that, the team struggled to deal with India’s powerful batting line-up in a 155-run defeat.

The results stand in sharp contrast to the Caribbean women's heady start to the tournament, which featured victories over New Zealand and England.  It is those victories, however, that Matthews believes stands the team in good stead, despite its recent patch of bad form.

“Coming into this tournament we knew our first four games were likely going to be the hardest.  We kind of said to ourselves if we can get two or three wins out of these four games we would be in a strong position and we’ve done exactly that,” Matthews told members of the media.

“Looking at the rest of the games, these are games we should expect to win and the good thing about it is that things are still in our hands. If we go out there and we can win all three of our games we will be qualifying for the semi-finals,” she added.

The West Indies will face Bangladesh, Pakistan, and South Africa in their remaining three matches.

“I don’t think there is much pressure at the moment.  We know we have the kind of team that once we go out there and play our best cricket we will get the wins.”

 

 

 

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite hopes to see a more efficient performance from the bowling line-up as the team eyes pulling ahead of England when the three-match Test series resumes on Monday.

In the opening match, a total of 1,182 runs were scored over five days in a stern examination of bowlers from both teams.  Things did not start out that way, however, as the Windies took four wickets at the top of the first innings only for Jonny Bairstow to lead England’s recovery in the middle overs.

“I think we just have to be a bit more disciplined in the middle periods, probably a little tighter, under three runs an over, I think.  Creating that pressure will help to get more wickets in the middle overs,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Tuesday.

The West Indies will have fond recent memories of facing the English in Barbados having secured a massive 381 run win when the teams last met at the venue in 2019.  Brathwaite was quick to point out, however, that the team would not be preoccupied with history.

 “I think it’s history, to be honest, and we really have to look more to the future and be more disciplined.  I think we can draw from some things we did well, so of the players for sure, but I think we have to buckle down and start fresh.”

Saqib Mahmood will make his Test debut in England's only change for their second match against West Indies, starting on Wednesday at Kensington Oval.

The Lancashire seamer is a like-for-like replacement for the injured Mark Wood, who has been ruled out due to an elbow problem sustained in the first Test.

Joe Root's side played out a draw in that opening contest against Kraigg Brathwaite's hosts in Antigua and have moved on to Barbados for the second of three tussles for the Richards-Botham Trophy.

Centuries for captain Root, Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley were stymied by a superb display from Nkrumah Bonner and Wood's injury, on the back of Ollie Robinson being ruled out for the opener.

Root admitted that while Durham bowler Wood would be a loss, he had little doubts about 25-year-old Mahmood's potential.

"He's very mature for a guy who hasn't played a huge amount of international cricket, and he has an understanding of how he wants to operate," Root said.

"He's been very impressive. He's got a slightly different trajectory and will give us a point of difference. He has done that when he's played in other formats.

"Clearly he has good control, especially if the ball moves with reverse swing."

West Indies batsman Bonner, whose recent emergence as a Test player has followed a false start in international cricket in the T20I format 10 years ago, is relishing another battle after his man-of-the-match performance.

"During that 10-year period when I was out, there was a lot of work I put in mentally, physically and technically, and I'm really happy to be reaping the rewards now," Bonner said, quoted by BBC Sport.

"I'm more experienced now, I understand my game a lot better. I always had that belief I could play international cricket.

"Obviously sometimes the belief goes down a little bit, but I kept working and I'm really happy to have come back."

Stokes closes in on select England landmark

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been relatively quiet with bat and ball since returning to the international fold, but he could reach a notable landmark this week.

He needs 84 more to reach 5,000 runs in Test cricket for England; in doing so, he would become just the 23rd player to achieve this feat for the team.

West Indies are one of the three teams against whom he has scored over 1,000 runs.

Roach poised to move up WI rankings

Kemar Roach needs only one more wicket to become the outright seventh-highest wicket taker for West Indies in men's Test cricket.

Roach is level with Garry Sobers on 235 wickets, and the paceman has more wickets against England (54) than against any other team in this format.

Once he moves ahead, he will have sixth-placed Michael Holding in his sights, with 249.

The West Indies now have two wins and two losses at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup after suffering a crushing seven-wicket loss to favourites Australia in Wellington on Monday.

The Caribbean side won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that seemed to offer both batters and bowlers an opportunity to shine.

Unfortunately, the Windies innings never got out of first gear after losing both Hayley Matthews (0) and Deandra Dottin (16) early.

Captain Stafanie Taylor did her best to bring stability to the innings with a trying 50 off 91 balls but her dismissal in the 41st over signalled the end of the West Indies resistance as they were swiftly bowled out for 131 after 46 overs.

Ellyse Perry was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 3-22 off eight overs, while Ashleigh Gardner took 3-25 off 10.

Australia then coasted to their fourth straight win, getting to 132-3 off 30.2 overs with Rachel Haynes finishing not out on 83.

The West Indies now find themselves fifth on the points table with four points from four games, while Australia are first with a perfect eight points from their four encounters.

The West Indies will next tackle Bangladesh on Thursday.

Kensington Oval is expected to be a hive of activity for the second Apex Test match, as the historic venue will now be able to operate at full capacity when West Indies host England from March 16-20.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced that the venue will be allowed to return to 100 per cent capacity for fully vaccinated fans, following a decision taken on Monday by the Barbados Government.

Additionally, it was also announced that fans in the ‘Banks Party Stand’, presented by ‘Power By Four’, will no longer be required to take rapid antigen tests to enter, with all fans now just needing to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be able to present their vaccination documentation.

“We are very happy that there is the potential for more West Indies and travelling England fans to attend the 2nd Apex Test match at Kensington Oval. We were almost sold out for the first two days before the decision by the Government of Barbados, which everyone welcomes," said Dominic Warne, WI’s Commercial and Marketing Director.

"Additionally, this will make it a much smoother experience for Banks Party Stand ticket holders, of which there will be more than 1000 per day, following the removal of rapid antigen testing requirements. We’re expecting another dramatic Test match against England and we want as many West Indies fans as possible rallying behind the #MeninMaroon.”

 The three-match Apex Test Series is still level following the draw in the first Apex Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Men’s Selection Panel has named an unchanged squad for the second Apex Test match against England. The match will be played at Kensington Oval from March 16-20.

The three-match Apex Series is level 0-0 following a draw in the first Apex Test match, which was played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Nkrumah Bonner was named Player-of-the-Match. He scored a career-best 123 in the first innings and 38 not out in the second innings on the final day.

“It was a hard-fought first match in Antigua and we decided to stick with the same 13 players for the second match in Barbados,” said lead selector Desmond Haynes in explaining the decision not to make any changes ahead of the second Test.

“Bonner demonstrated the way you should play, and we were very pleased with the way he played in the first innings and again in the second innings. It was hard work for all the bowlers, and we were very happy with the way they stuck to the task.”

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales.

Joe Root praised his England team for their performance in a first Test draw with West Indies following a "difficult year".

Captain Root has led England into this series alongside stand-in coach Paul Collingwood after the ECB made widespread changes in response to a dismal Ashes tour.

England had issues throughout their line-up in Australia, and the decision to respond by leaving both Stuart Broad and James Anderson at home for this series was not a popular one.

Fellow bowler Mark Wood was lost to an injury for which he is being assessed in the first Test, too, but England remained the most likely winners in Antigua.

Helped by Root's 109 in a second-innings 349-6 declared, England gave themselves two sessions to bowl out West Indies and threatened to do so when Jack Leach took three wickets in a strong spell.

It was not to be, as West Indies finished on 147-4 – some way short of a target of 286 but not at real risk of defeat.

The post-match outlook from Root was a positive one, however.

"I'm really pleased with the way we played, especially given the position we were in after that first hour," said Root, referring to an alarming first day when England slumped to 48-4 prior to Jonny Bairstow's vital 140.

"The guys stayed calm and showed great maturity to get us to a total, especially off the back of a difficult winter and a difficult year where we've not scored anywhere near enough runs."

Lauding his bowlers, too, Root added: "The way the guys stuck at it, especially having one bowler down as well, showed a huge amount of character and it was a huge step forward in many respects.

"No-one stopped believing or gave up all day. We really did give ourselves the best chance of winning this game."

West Indies great Carlos Brathwaite was not happy with England's tactics after Joe Root waited until there were just five balls remaining before conceding the draw.

After falling to 67-4, West Indies duo Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder shut up shop, surviving for a combined 239 deliveries as Jack Leach (3-57) and Ben Stokes (1-24) searched for a miracle.

As the day's remaining overs dwindled, England showed no desire to call it early, drawing criticism from Brathwaite as he spoke about the lack of respect shown by the visitors.

"In my opinion [the match] did [go too long]," Brathwaite told BT Sport. 

"If I were Kraigg Brathwaite, or any of the senior players in our dressing room, I would have found it a bit disrespectful that in the last hour.

"With two set batsmen batting the way that they were, the pitch offering nothing, that England still felt as though they could get six wickets in 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four [overs]... up until five balls left."

Braithwaite went on to say that he feels England would not have handled the situation the same way against more high-profile Test outfits.

"If you want to become a top team, you have to think like a top team," he added. "West Indies may not be there yet, but the mentality has to be. 

"Would England have done that if it were an Ashes Test? Would they have done that against New Zealand, India, Pakistan? I think the answer is no. So why have they done it against us?

"If [West Indies] need any sort of steely determination added, I think that passage of play should have given them it. We are a better team than we're given credit for – this passage of play proves it, and now we have two Test matches to prove we are better than England think we are."

 

 

 

Defiant second innings batting from man-of-the-match Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped the West Indies salvage a draw on day five of the first Apex Test match against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Saturday.

England’s unbeaten pair of captain Joe Root (84) and Zak Crawley (117) started the day attempting to add on to England’s overnight 217-1 and eventually got to 225 before Crawley became the first scalp of the day, falling to Holder for 121.

Root carried on and brought up his 24th Test match hundred, the second-most by an Englishman only behind former skipper Alastair Cook’s 33.

Dan Lawrence, who joined Root after Crawley’s dismissal, made a breezy 37 before he was removed by Alzarri Joseph to leave England 295-3 off 78.3 overs.

With a declaration looming, England’s batsmen tried to step up their scoring rate but kept losing wickets quickly, including Root for 109 and Ben Stokes for 13.

Joseph finished with 3-78 off 23.2 overs while Kemar Roach picked up 2-53 off 19 overs.

They eventually declared on 349-6, leaving the West Indies needing 286 for victory.

The West Indies started their pursuit just before lunch, eventually reaching 4-0 at the break.

After lunch, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell continued their fruitful partnership at the top of the order with a second 50 partnership of the match.

They got to 59-0 before Brathwaite was trapped in front by Stokes for 33. Campbell was then dismissed in the next over by Jack Leach for 22 to leave the hosts in a spot of bother at 59-2.

Shamarh Brooks (5) and Jermaine Blackwood (2) then quickly became Leach’s next two victims to leave the West Indies struggling at 67-4 in the 35th over.

Thankfully for the West Indies, Bonner (38) and Holder (37) safely negotiated the final 36.3 overs to lead the West Indies to 147-4 off 70.1 overs.

Jack Leach was the pick of the England bowlers with 3-57 off 30.1 overs.

Final Scores: England 311 and 349-6 declared, West Indies 375 and 147-4.

The second test gets underway on March 16th in Barbados.

 

 

West Indies Women captain Stafanie Taylor insists she is not overly perturbed by her recent struggles to find form at the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup.

The all-rounder, who has third-most runs in the history of women’s One Day International (ODI) cricket, has found scoring to be a scarce commodity at the tournament so far. 

In three matches to date, Taylor has managed just 31 runs for an average of 10.33 well below her overall tournament average of 37.  With those figures in mind, it's hardly a surprise that the player has hardly managed to spend any time at the crease.  In total, Taylor has been at the crease for just 1 hour and 11 minutes, the fifth most in the batting order.

“It’s not something that I’m worried about, yes, my form is a bit down.  But I think it happens to the best of players,” Taylor told members of the media on Saturday.

“For me, it's about going back to have a look at some footage and keep reminding myself that I am good enough to get out of any rut.  Right now, I’m just trying to stay positive because the team is doing well.  Today was probably just one of those days but I’m just trying not to pressure myself too much because I don’t have the form that I would like,” she added.

Taylor’s best performance came against New Zealand where she scored 30 runs from 47 balls.  The West Indies Women will next be in action against Australia on Monday.

Brilliant centuries from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur fueled India Women to a massive win over West Indies Women at the ICC Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

The loss was the first for the Caribbean team who began the tournament with wins over New Zealand and England.  The powerful combination of Mandhana and Kaur, however, typified an attacking India and set the Windies a daunting 318 for a third straight win, which would always have been a difficult scenario.

In pursuit, the West Indies did, however, get off to a flyer with opener Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews smashing the India bowlers around the ground.  Suffering from back issues Dottin was particularly aggressive as she looked to deal in boundaries to avoid scampering between the wickets.  In fact, the all-rounder reached her fifty in just 35 balls and the Windies were 81 without loss at the end of the Powerplay.

Spinner Sneh Rana, however, eventually got the breakthrough as Dottin's miscalculated sweep attempt was caught.  Facing the massive target, wickets continued to tumble for the West Indies with Meghna Singh joining Rana in the attack to pick up the wickets of Kycia Knight and Stafanie Taylor.  Rana then dismissed Matthews.

With the required run-rate around seven, the pressure of run-scoring got to the rest of the Windies batting line-up, which saw the team bundled out for just 162, still 156 runs short.

Earlier Mandhana smashed 123 from 119 balls and Harmanpreet contributed 109 from just 107 deliveries.  Their partnership was the highest by any Indian duo at a Women's Cricket World Cup, beating Thirush Kamini and Punam Raut's 175-run opening stand against the West Indies at the 2013 edition of the tournament.

West Indies pace bowler Shakera Selman has hailed the growth of all-rounder Deandra Dottin and the prominent role she continues to play not just on the pitch but increasingly these days also off it.

With three One Day International 100s to her name, the 30-year-old has been undoubtedly been one of the team’s most influential players since making her debut in 2008.  On the back of recent performances, which were critical in the team’s wins over New Zealand and then England, it is clear that that much hasn’t changed.  But at least some things have

According to Selman, in addition to her on-field heroics, Dottin, like so many great players, has matured not just into the role of serving as a role model for the next generation, but also in terms of imparting tactical know-how whenever possible.

“Deandra has grown tremendously as a leader over the past few years.  She was the vice-captain when we were back in England in 2020 and I think given that responsibility she has grown tremendously,” Selman told members of the media on Friday.

“We’ve seen helping a lot with the youngsters, she is a bit aggressive and that helps in the field, helps as a batter.  She is always offering advice to all the youngsters, even the senior players.  Now she is in conversation with Stafanie Taylor on the field when we are trying to make crucial decisions,” she added.

Dottin and the West Indies will look for a third straight win in a row when they take on India on Friday night at 8:00 pm.   

 

Zak Crawley and Joe Root put on a 193-run stand for the second wicket in England's second innings to boost their hopes of victory in the first Test against West Indies – at least until the weather intervened.

Day four could have been a tricky one for the tourists in Antigua, with any rush of early wickets potentially handing West Indies a clear sight of an opening win.

After Jack Leach concluded the hosts' innings on 375 by taking the wicket of Jayden Seales with the third ball of the day, Crawley, who went on to reach 117 not out, required a review in the first over to overturn an lbw decision.

Fellow opener Alex Lees was not so fortunate, departing for six to Kemar Roach to reduce England to 24-1, still 40 runs behind their opponents.

Yet that brought Root out alongside Crawley, and the captain made an unbeaten 84 in an outstanding partnership that altered England's outlook considerably.

A short rain delay with Crawley on 49 might have ramped up the nerves, but he returned to pass 50 and continue on into three figures, scoring his second Test century.

Root was well on course to follow Crawley when the weather halted England again, with play eventually abandoned for the day after discussions between the umpires and the captains.

Root willing to take a risk?

England are 153 runs ahead on 217-1, in a great position to accelerate their scoring and attempt to win this match rather than settle for a draw. But the early finish on Friday meant their lead was not larger, making any call to go on the offensive a gamble as West Indies could yet themselves excel with the bat.

In the first match of the series, skipper Root may well take the more measured approach – particularly with his bowlers toiling in the first innings.

Crawley knock critical

That Root might have such a dilemma owes a great deal to Crawley, who put a disappointing first-innings score of eight behind him in some style. Had he departed early again, as he might have when a review was required, England would likely have faced a long day looking to protect hopes of a draw.

Crawley's unbeaten 200-ball knock, his score boosted by 16 fours, instead gave the tourists hope of a first away victory in nine Tests.

A tough day in the field for England ended on a positive note with the dismissal of Nkrumah Bonner, but only after his career-best 123 had given West Indies the lead in the first Test.

Day three in Antigua represented something of a slog, although Bonner could reflect fondly on a job well done with the Windies reaching stumps at 373-9 – enough for a 62-run lead.

The number four batsman almost battled out the day, having resumed alongside Jason Holder in a partnership that ended on 79 when Ben Stokes brilliantly removed the former captain for 45.

That was not a sign of things to come for England, however, as they struggled to follow one wicket with another and Bonner formed another impressive stand with Joshua Da Silva (32) for 73 runs.

Jack Leach's wicket of Da Silva looked like being a big one when Alzarri Joseph quickly followed to Craig Overton, but Bonner again found team-mates willing to dig in with him.

His ton came up with Kemar Roach (15) at the other end, with Veerasammy Permaul (26 not out) the next in.

Finally, with stumps nearing, Dan Lawrence was convinced his delivery to Bonner earned a nick on the way through to Ben Foakes, and UltraEdge confirmed the slightest of touches to finally conclude a marathon innings from the batsman.

Best yet from Bonner

This 123 surpassed Bonner's previous Test high of 113 against Sri Lanka last year and was significantly more taxing than that unbeaten score. Indeed, after only one innings, Bonner has already faced more balls in this Test (355) than any other previously in his career.

He had the patience required to chip away at England's bowlers and found enough support from elsewhere, too, as four of his final five partnerships lasted more than 160 balls.

Wood woe on tough day

England limited West Indies to 1.90 runs per over on day three but celebrated only five wickets. It would have been a draining day even with a full complement of bowlers.

As it was, having already left Stuart Broad and James Anderson at home, England lost Mark Wood to injury. He did not bowl a single ball after lunch and his contribution was badly missed.

West Indies Women head coach Courtney Walsh insists he has been satisfied with the team’s overall performance at the ICC World Cup so far but admits they are yet to put together the perfect game.

The Windies Women have started their campaign in New Zealand in spectacular fashion with a narrow win over the hosts, followed up by a similar triumph against defending champions England.

The performances have, however, been far from spotless.  The Windies are arguably yet to see the best of stars Stafanie Taylor or Deandra Dottin with the bat and their performances in the field have vacillated between exceptional and middling.  Ahead of the team’s encounter against India at 8:00 pm, tomorrow Walsh admits a bigger margin of victory would be welcome, but it’s the team’s fighting spirit that has in his mind been the positive feature so far.

“It’s good to be winning these close games but I think the fighting spirit the ladies have been showing is what has been the most encouraging,” Walsh told members of the media on Wednesday.

“In two close games, you have to be proud of how the ladies have performed.  The beauty about it is that everyone has chipped in so far in the two games,” he added.

After two matches the Windies Women are in third position behind Australia and New Zealand, with only the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals.

“I’m very happy that we’ve had the results that we want in the first two games.  I’m hoping that it can continue for the rest of the tournament.  So, I’m really happy with how the ladies are playing, everybody has played a part in the team process, good batting, good bowling, good catching.  It’s not the perfect game as yet we still have areas to improve upon.”

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