Carib Sports

Windies 21-run victory over England

CHESTER-LE-STREET, England – West Indies bowlers – led by their captain Carlos Brathwaite, the irrepressible Kesrick Williams and the clever Sunil Narine – defied cold, wet conditions and proved their adaptability to usher their side to a 21-run victory over England in their Twenty20 International on Saturday.

Brathwaite snared 3-20 from 3.3 overs, Williams took 3-35 from his allotted four overs and Narine, later named Player-of-the-Match, grabbed 2-15 from his four overs, as England were dismissed for 155 in pursuit of a victory target of 177 in the weather-affected match at the Riverside Stadium.

The Windies overcame a slippery outfield that almost forced umpires Martin Gough and Tim Robinson to abandon the England chase in the fifth over, an Alex Hales 39-ball blitz for a top score of 43, and a rear guard from Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow to clinch their 11th victory over England in 15 matches in this format. Using a number of variations in the second half of the chase, the visitors made it difficult for the home team to lift the tempo late in the chase, as the last six wickets fell for 37 in the space of 36 balls.

The embattled Brathwaite formalised the result with three balls remaining when he went past Liam Plunkett’s ugly swipe and bowled the England fast bowler to cap one of his better bowling performances in maroon since he was controversially elevated to captain last year. West Indies had failed to build upon a typically explosive start from Chris Gayle and fellow opener Evin Lewis, and were restricted to 176 for nine from their allocation of 20 overs, after they were sent in to bat under cloudy skies. Lewis led the way with 51 off 28 balls that included six fours and three sixes and Gayle smote three fours and four sixes in 40 from 21 balls in an opening stand of 77.

After Gayle was run out in the seventh over, failing to beat Jason Roy’s throw from square leg to bowler Liam Plunkett in the seventh over, the rest of the innings lacked the same intensity and momentum. The Windies reached 106 for one at the halfway stage, but Plunkett and leg-spinner Adil Rashid grabbed three wickets apiece to undermine their batting in the second half of the innings.

Jerome Taylor then gave West Indies the perfect start and silenced the capacity crowd, when he had Roy caught at backward point with the first ball of the chase. But Taylor and new ball partner Williams failed to find further consistency, and Hales made the most of an early reprieve to give the England chase early legs, putting on 64 for the second wicket with Root.

Brathwaite made the breakthrough when he bowled Hales with the penultimate delivery in the final over of the Power Play to put England in a tailspin that saw them plunge to 68 for four in the eighth over.

West Indies met further defiance from Buttler and Bairstow when they put on 50 for the fifth wicket with sensible batting, but with the scoring rate steadily increasing chances needed to be taken and the bottom half of the England batting failed to spark, as the Windies bowlers cleverly offered up a variety of cutters and change of pace deliveries. (CMC)



Qualifier not an embarrassing route

BELFAST, Ireland (CMC,/ | Captain Jason Holder does not believe West Indies having to play in a qualifying tournament to reach the 2019 World Cup in England is an embarrassment for the Caribbean side. Hosts England and the remaining top seven teams in the ICC rankings at the September 30 cut off date will earn direct qualification to the showpiece.

But with the Windies languishing ninth, they face the increasing likelihood of having to contest a 10-nation qualifier – comprising ICC associate nations like the Netherlands and Scotland – in order to secure one of the last two World Cup spots. “I don’t think it is embarrassing,” Holder said following Wednesday’s rained off One-Day International against Ireland.

“The World Cup is of such that teams like Ireland have come into world events and done really well and beat big teams before, as well as other smaller teams, so I don’t think it’s embarrassing. “We are where we are and if we do have to play in them (qualifiers), we will take it one step at a time. The abandoned ODI at Stormont saw the Windies hopes of direct qualification suffer yet another blow. They needed to beat the Irish as well as also defeat England at least 4-1 in the upcoming five-match series starting next week. However, the Windies can now ill-afford to lose any of the contests against England, leaving them with little margin of error. Holder, who also led the Windies at the last World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, said their ultimate goal was to qualify for the tournament regardless of the route.

“We’re at the stage where we are looking to turn a corner and qualify for the World Cup, whether we have to go through the qualifiers or qualify automatically,” he pointed out. “We’re excited for the (England) series and hopefully we can play some good cricket.” West Indies received a major boost for the series with the return of leading players Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, after Cricket West Indies relaxed its stringent eligibility rules, allowing the duo to be in line for selection.

Several other players like brothers Darren and Dwayne Bravo, along with Sunil Narine, could also still make a return next year and Holder hopes the added experience coupled with the side’s young talent, can lead to positive results.

“We are still a work in progress and hopefully more players are coming back,” Holder said. “Meantime, we have a young group of players challenging for places and hopefully hey can come in and make their presence felt and feel more comfortable in the international arena.”

The first ODI against England bowls off at Old Trafford next Tuesday.


Convincing players to tour Pakistan will be challenging, says CWI boss

LAHORE, Pakistan (CMC) | Cricket West Indies (CWI) p resident Dave Cameron said West Indies players will get to decide whether they tour Pakistan for a series of three Twenty20 Internationals in November. Cameron was speaking at the conclusion of the Independence Series between the Pakistanis and a World XI over the last week in Lahore. The series has raised expectations in the country that Pakistan can resume the staging of international matches following an international suspension, due to an armed attack by militants on the Sri Lankan team bus eight years ago in this city.

The Pakistanis hosted Zimbabwe for a historic limited-overs series two years ago, but other internationals have been reluctant to play bilateral series in the country, forcing Pakistan to play their home games in the United Arab Emirates in the past few years. “We want to ensure that when the players come over, everyone actually wants to come and enjoy the experience, and we don’t want to be seen to be forcing anyone,” said Cameron.

“We’ve had Darren Sammy and Samuel Badree here, and they’ve loved it. Sammy’s on his second trip and I think that will also convince the players that it is safe to come.” Cameron however made it clear that the tour will depend on the security reports after the conclusion of Independence Cup, mentioning that CWI has no intention of forcing any player who doesn’t wish to undertake the tour. “We’ve had the security team here for the final of the Pakistan Super League and they’ve seen these matches as well,” he said “Here, Pakistan’s board makes decisions [regarding where to tour]. My board’s a little bit different, with the West Indies Players’ Association also having a big say — and we have to respect their decision.”

Cameron said he had enjoyed his two-day stay in Pakistan and was convinced that things have improved with the International Cricket Council, the sport’s world governing body, overseeing security arrangements and willing to bear the cost of security advisors for every series the PCB hosts from now.

“We’ve been talking about this for some time and have our own challenges back in the West Indies, but from what I have seen, I am very convinced,” said Cameron.

“Hospitality has been great and security has been first-class. My challenge is to convince the players that it’s safe enough. It’s our duty to help as well. I felt that if I came over here to show that it’s safe enough that would go some way in convincing the players. Inshallah [Godwilling] in November, we’ll be here.”