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  1. Shaheen Afridi, Nauman Ali bowl Pakistan to series-levelling win Afridi takes ten for the match as West Indies fold in the final session Shaheen Afridi was named Player of the Series for his 18 wickets 2005, 2011 and 2021. Three two-match series in a row West Indies took the lead at home, only for Pakistan to drag them back to parity. Rain, wet outfield, poor light all conspired to try and deny Babar Azam's side triumph in this Test, but Pakistan's positive approach and relentlessness in pursuit of a result was rewarded with a hugely gratifying 109-run win. Shaheen Afridi was the hero, finishing with a match haul of 10 wickets as West Indies folded against a well-rounded attack. It meant they will have to wait a few more years to record a first Test series win over Pakistan since 2001. At the start of the day, Pakistan needed nine wickets, West Indies 280 runs. For a brief while on the fourth evening, Pakistan were slightly jittery in the face of West Indian resistance. It remained that way for a brief spell on the final morning, as Alzarri Joseph and Kraigg Brathwaite kept the bowlers at bay. Each struck a boundary to get the the score rolling, and with the ball losing its shine, West Indies appeared to be making progress. But once Afridi bounced Joseph out, the innings changed colour. Hasan Ali hadn't enjoyed a particularly memorable series until Tuesday, but it took just one ball to make an impact towards levelling the series. Nkrumah Bonner played down the wrong line and was struck dead in front; Hasan didn't even bother to appeal as he set off to celebrate. The umpire made Pakistan review, but there was no redemption for Bonner. Faheem Ashraf at the other end should have seen off Brathwaite, but while one Pakistan opener simply cannot drop a catch in the slips, Brathwaite's outside edge looped to the other one. Abid Ali put down a dolly, perhaps illustrating why Imran Butt had dived so spectacularly in front of him in the first Test. To rub the point home further, when Roston Chase offered up a chance the following over, Butt dived adroitly to his right as Pakistan had another wicket. Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood have been West Indies' brightest batting sparks this tour, and for more than an hour, they kept Pakistan waiting for another breakthrough. It came from an unlikely source - their left-arm spinner Nauman Ali - who flighted the ball to draw the batter forward and induce an outside edge to the keeper. Brathwaite appeared to be the focal point of resistance when the middle session began but a rare loose shot a few overs in allowed Pakistan to chisel their way into the lower order. A loose, uppish slash to point found Fawad Alam, and Pakistan were sniffing at the prospect of finishing the game off before tea. But Kyle Mayers, who was yet to score a run this series before, found a bit of rhythm, and alongside Jason Holder, began to hunker down. The runs came from time to time, but they weren't a priority, and as Nauman's effectiveness wavered while the quicks tired, West Indies were raising local hopes of taking the game deep and infusing concern among the fielding side. Abid's butterfingers didn't help, the opener putting down his second catch of the day, this time a routine grab at short leg after an inside edge from Mayers. It was down to Afridi - who else? - to give Pakistan a lift, coming with an exquisite off-stump delivery that shaped away from the left-handed Mayers. The batter went for an expansive drive, only to see it take a feather off the outside edge, triggering relieved Pakistani celebrations. You wouldn't have blamed Pakistan for believing they were on the cusp of a series-levelling win, but the heavens chose that moment to open, and within moments, it had gone from bright sunshine to an absolute downpour. Holder jogged back off alongside the dismissed Mayers, while Babar followed in his wake, remonstrating with the umpires; after the drama around the wet outfield, thoughts must invariably have turned to a victory snatched from under his side's noses. But it was only a cloudburst, to Pakistan's relief and an early tea later, back out they came. The darkening skies added dramatic flair to the occasion, and for a while Holder made hay while the sun didn't shine. He targeted both quick and slow bowlers alike, and rode his luck on occasion, no more so than when Afridi failed to gobble up a chance on the boundary. Butt aside, Pakistan's lacklustre fielding was thematically consistent, and with no clear notion of when time might run out, there was always the danger it could cost them once more. But with Babar having turned to the spinners to rush through till the new ball became available, Holder's extravagance got the better of him. He had pierced Nauman through the covers the previous delivery, but three runs shy of a half-century found Alam at cover the next ball. From that point on, Afridi took over with the new ball, summarily removing Kemar Roach and Joshua Da Silva to close the game. Test cricket in these two nations might have been set back over the past few decades, but over yet another humdinger of a series, there was nothing to separate West Indies and Pakistan once more.
  2. Afridi, Abbas give Pakistan a shot at 1-1 scoreline West Indies start solidly in their steep chase as a thrilling final day looms Shaheen Afridi followed up two four-fours in the first Test with a six-for in the second The weather on day two and the farce around a damp patch near the pitch on the following day brought out the worst of Test cricket. But on day four, chasing a game to salvage the series and precious World Test Championship points, Pakistan ensured we saw the best of the grand old format, too. Shaheen Afridi, among the brightest stars in world cricket, lit up the contest with a career-best six-wicket haul in the first innings, rolling what was left of the West Indies first innings over in a little more than a session. It allowed Pakistan a lead of 152, and permission to put on their T20 boots as they hurtled to 176 in 27.3 overs, ensuring West Indies would bat for 18 overs. They must now prevent Pakistan from taking nine wickets on Tuesday if they are to cling on to the series. West Indies, mind you, need 280 more runs for a clean sweep, but on the evidence of events on Monday, it seems a tough ask. The elements seemed to have conspired to lead this game down the cul-de-sac of a pointless draw, but emboldened by having nothing to lose, Pakistan made it engrossing viewing. Afridi made short work of nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph in the morning, drawing a meaty outside edge that Babar Azam snaffled at third slip. The spell that followed was perhaps Pakistan's most wayward, with Afridi, in particular, going too far down the leg side as he tried to exploit the angle into the right-hander. Mohammad Abbas prowled and menaced, but through a combination of Jermaine Blackwood's flamboyance and Nkrumah Bonner's steel, West Indies were finding a way. Hasan Ali went after the stumps, too, perhaps to exploit Bonner's tendency to get out bowled or lbw, his mode of dismissal in six of his nine Test dismissals. But it gave away easy runs to fine leg and the pair soon brought up the 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket. At that point, it appeared to be the hosts' session. Abbas changed all that in two deliveries. Not exactly two, because he had worked on softening Bonner up with inswinging deliveries before moving one away that kissed the outside edge. Kyle Mayers, yet to score a run this series, saw his wait extended by another innings after Abbas went around the wicket and induced him to poke at one. West Indies were suddenly six down and Afridi was steaming in, enjoying a second wind. He went short to Blackwood, and even though the batter pulled him away for four once, he kept plugging away. A beast of a bouncer threatened to lodge up the batter's nostrils, and as Blackwood desperately fended it off, it flew up towards gully. Fawad Alam took an excellent catch as he leapt to his right, and both set batters had departed. Jason Holder's exuberance saw Abbas targeted early after lunch, going for two fours and a six off his first seven deliveries. But it was only a matter of time before Afridi got rid of him, the batter coaxed into playing a loose drive that only took a feather off his outside edge. Azam held on to a sharp chance at midwicket to give Afridi his six-for, and Pakistan sprinted out to bat with a spring in their step. Fawad Alam plucked a stunner at gully Abid Ali and Imran Butt have had difficult tours, but neither worried too much about their personal numbers in the manner they approached the innings. Recognising that time in this Test remains a precious commodity, they got Pakistan off to a flyer, with Abid setting the tone by smashing three boundaries off his first four balls. West Indies, until now impressively consistent with the ball, didn't help themselves, allowing four byes and as many leg-byes inside the first three overs as the run rate shot up to nine. West Indies are at their best when attacking the batters, but Pakistan's fast start put them in defensive mode. Jayden Seales went for three more boundaries in his third over, and as negative, wide-line bowling seeped into the hosts' game, Pakistan continued to press the issue. The openers and Azhar Ali fell before lunch in pursuit of quick runs, but it didn't stop Pakistan from bringing up the hundred in the 17th over on the stroke of tea. Not that the break offered the hosts any respite. Pakistan continued to go hell for leather as West Indies receded further into defensive, negative tactics. It prompted the umpires to clamp down on wide bowling, but the runs were still flowing freely. Hasan was sent up to bash a few, and Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf all joined the fun. When the captain Azam holed out, though, he decided enough was enough, and gave West Indies the last 90 minutes of the day to survive. West Indies' top order resistance came to the party for the first time, seeing off the new ball. Abbas and Afridi weren't quite at their spellbinding first-innings best, but Pakistan would still have wanted to break through into the middle order quickly. But Kraigg Brathwaite left everything that wasn't on the stumps and kept out the rest, while Kieran Powell, fighting for his place in the side, took a cue from his captain and turned out his most assured performance of the series. He would survive for more than an hour in hostile conditions, but no one will ever really remember that for how it ended. A classy cover drive from Brathwaite meant an easy three was on, and while Brathwaite jogged through to the non-striker's end, Powell was equally blasé at the end the ball was thrown to. Afridi's lob was headed directly for the stumps, and Rizwan, recognising that, let it go. Powell didn't bother to ground his bat, and a West Indies partnership Pakistan were struggling to break dissolved all by itself. Unlike Sunday, however, there were no further wickets to fall. Nightwatchman Joseph ended the day as he started it, batting to keep his side in the game, and alongside his captain, lived to fight another day.
  3. Fawad Alam 124*, bowlers give Pakistan control The Test has sprung to life despite four sessions being taken away by weather and poor ground conditions Fawad Alam's century carried Pakistan Pakistan found themselves on top at the end of day three thanks to Fawad Alam's unbeaten 124, but they have both the opposition and time to beat if they are to level this series. Things went reasonably enough to plan for Babar Azam's men in the 53.2 overs that were possible, with West Indies' top order desperately engaged in damage limitation against Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Afridi at twilight. The openers and Roston Chase were already back in the pavilion, with the hosts trailing by a further 263 runs with two days to go. The West Indian innings might have spanned merely 18 overs on Sunday, but felt like it would be the defining period. Pakistan had to press the issue as they look to level the series, and a solid passage of play here for the hosts might well have dealt a decisive blow to those hopes. Kieran Powell has been out of form for a while now, and when he offered his front pad to an Afridi delivery that looked like it had been programmed to hit middle stump, it was little surprise. Kraigg Brathwaite's dismissal felt like a bigger moment, the West Indies captain playing all around a textbook left-arm inswinger that crashed into his stumps. West Indies were down two wickets for nine, and there was still an hour to go. These were dream bowling conditions for Abbas, and a blank wickets column should not detract from his devastating ability. The subtle seam movement that threatens both edges of the bat was on full display; at times the batters looked as at sea about the direction of travel as they might to a well-disguised googly. There were thick edges through the slips, stifled lbw appeals, and just brilliant intensity when he had ball in hand. That Chase and Nkrumah Bonner found a way to hang on seemed like it might be vital, but Abbas had softened Chase up for Faheem Ashraf. It was the sort of dismissal Abbas might be proud of, with a length ball shaping back in off the seam, keeping a shade low and ripping past a bat Chase could not get down in time. Under rapidly deteriorating light, Alzarri Joseph was sent out to be the nightwatchman, and managed to stave off further damage to his side. The first session was lost despite bright sunshine Despite bright sunshine on a day where 98 overs were originally scheduled to be bowled, only eight balls were possible before lunch had to be taken. A wet patch around the bowler's run-up at the Michael Holding end was the culprit, with Jason Holder bowling only two balls from that end before asking for the umpires to get involved. Lengthy discussions that involved the captains, coaches, umpires and match referee followed, before officials decided to break for lunch early. The middle session was at times as soporific as the weather delays over the past four sessions had been, with just six runs scored in the day's first ten overs. Mohammad Rizwan and Ashraf eventually brought up the 50-run partnership, but were, in truth, going nowhere, even though Pakistan needed to force a result. Much of that was thanks to regimentally disciplined bowling, with the quick bowlers allowing few run-scoring opportunities. Those wicket-to-wicket lines paid off, with both men dismissed lbw. Ashraf was the first to go, leaving a gap between bat and pad that Seales honed in on, while Rizwan moved too far across to Holder and caught himself stuck in front. Nauman Ali was dispatched for a first ball duck, and suddenly Holder found himself on a hat-trick, while West Indies sniffed a collapse. The man of the day for Pakistan, though, was indisputably Alam, who continued to make a mockery of his decade-long exclusion from the national side with his fourth hundred this year. He had come back on after retiring hurt on the first day, and following the flurry of wickets at the other end, realised it was time to kick on. A flick of the wrists that brought him four broke the shackles, and he found himself inching towards three figures. A pull to midwicket took him to the landmark, and as the dressing room rose as one, Alam raised his bat; he had overseen a Pakistan fightback in the session and ensured they ended the innings on their terms. After tea, he kicked on in an entertaining 35-run stand with a cavalier Afridi, and when the No. 10 fell, Babar called his players back in. It felt only right that Alam went in undefeated, and, ever the team man, might have set Pakistan up for a remarkable series-salvaging win in the time that remains.
  4. Rain washes out second day at Sabina Park Play will start half an hour early on day three with 98 overs scheduled to be bowled The ground staff at Sabina Park mop up water from the covers The second day of the second Test between West Indies and Pakistan was washed out completely, with no action possible due to intermittent rain and a wet outfield. The start of play was delayed for a persistent drizzle, forcing the umpires into taking an early lunch. Moments after that announcement, however, the clouds scattered and the rain stopped, only to resume just before a second inspection. It would be that sort of day, with the weather teasing at the prospect of some cricket, before eventually match officials conceded victory and called it a day at 4.05pm local time. It leaves the match situation where it was at stumps on day one, with Pakistan having lost four wickets for 212. Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Rizwan are unbeaten, with Fawad Alam having retired hurt on the stroke of tea on the first day. Play will start half an hour early, at 9.30am local time, on Sunday with 98 overs scheduled to be bowled. West Indies lead the series 1-0, having triumphed in the first game by one wicket.
  5. Azam, Alam lead Pakistan's recovery on first day The two had come together with Pakistan reduced to 2 for 3, and both hit fifties from there Babar Azam and Fawad Alam put on a massive stand for Pakistan after early losses The first four overs set Pakistan back significantly, but the day was defined by a behemoth of a partnership between Babar Azam and Fawad Alam. Under blisteringly hostile conditions for at least the first two sessions that saw no fewer than three players forced off the field, the duo put together a 158-run stand to drag Pakistan from the depths into a position of clear dominance. They were forced together after Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales scythed through Pakistan's embattled top order to leave them three wickets down for two runs, but the attritional rebuild means it has been Pakistan's day. Alam is still unbeaten, but cramps forced him off to bring his stand with Azam to an end and while the Pakistan captain fell soon after, those were the only four wickets West Indies managed as Pakistan put on 212 on the day. Winning the toss, Kraigg Brathwaite had little hesitation putting Pakistan in to bat, and inside ten minutes, it became apparent why. Abid Ali lasted just three deliveries, pushing - without real footwork and with disappointing familiarity - at one from Roach around the fourth stump line, edging to Jermaine Blackwood in the slips. Azhar Ali became Roach's next victim, falling for a duck in similar style, with the ball kissing the outside edge and leaving the secure Joshua Da Silva to do the rest. Seales piled on the misery for Pakistan, inducing the hapless Imran Butt into a forward defensive prod that, on review, was shown to have tickled the outside edge. Aside from Irfan Pathan's famous first-over hat-trick at Karachi, this would be Pakistan's joint-worst Test match start in history. If that represented rock bottom, Azam and Alam used it as a solid enough foundation to begin the rebuild. Both looked vulnerable against an irrepressible seam bowling display from Seales and Roach early on, but the Pakistan captain looked to break out of it through aggression. A mistimed slash over point brought him his first runs, and from there, batting looked to have become easier for Pakistan's premier batter. It was initially less straightforward for Alam. He looked particularly vulnerable around his off stump, Jason Holder and Roach in particular beating his outside edge a number of times, while three of his four boundaries came off thick edges to the slips. However, survival was the primary goal, and on that count, it was mission accomplished. Azam looked just as comfortable in the middle session but much more sedate, especially once he brought up his half-century with a regal late cut behind backward point off Roach, a bowler he targeted in particular early on in the session. He was particular strong square of the wicket, as you might expect, and the slightest infraction when it came to line was a candidate for a put-away boundary. Alam was significantly improved throughout the session, far more assured with his shot selection and more progressive in his approach. A struggling Alzarri Joseph, who came off on the stroke of tea, came in for particular punishment, with Alam bringing up his own half-century with a boundary off the 24-year old. Those fidgety outside edges that kept the slips interested were kept to a minimum, but Alam, too, would find himself suffering through the elements as the sun beat down. The weather seemed to be indiscriminate in the toll it was taking, and Da Silva was forced off the field for a spot of rehydration before the session was out. The one-dimensional nature of West Indies attack - they don't have any left-arm pacers or full-time spinners - arguably saw their woes exacerbated as the Pakistan pair batted themselves into a nice rhythm. Brathwaite turned to Roston Chase for a short spell, only to see Pakistan targeting him, and on a sizzling day, the home side had to turn to their quicks once more. By this point, it was hard to see who might bring West Indies a breakthrough, but Alam was beginning to cramp pretty much every delivery. The game's momentum took a beating, too, and there was a touch of the farcical cricket seems to produce more often than just about any other sport on the stroke of tea. Da Silva needed to be taken off with one ball to go in the session, but the regulations stipulated the over had to be completed before the players broke for tea. It meant there was a lengthy pause while his replacement got himself ready, all to send down a delivery before another 20-minute break. Alam's woes continued post-tea, and it soon became apparent carrying on was impossible. The Jamaican sun had done what Brathwaite's men hadn't looked like achieving for nigh on five hours, and with life injected into the home side, Azam, the epitome of solidity, suddenly began to look susceptible. Two balls after Roach whooshed past his outside edge with prodigious late swing, he found a juicy chunk of it which went to Holder at second slip. West Indies roared with excitement, sensing a swing in momentum; one way or another, they had removed both Azam and Alam. By now, the clouds were blocking out the sun, and with Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf new at the crease, there was opportunity to wrestle back the momentum the hosts had lost through the afternoon. It wouldn't quite happen that way. Ashraf is a genuine middle-order batsman since his return to the Test side in December; he averages over 40 with the bat, while Rizwan's versatility has seen him enjoy a meteoric rise of his own. The over rate was poor, and stoppages for one reason or another became commonplace; at one point, the emergence of swarms of flies at the ground resulted in a lengthy pause as Rizwan tried to prise one out of Joseph's eyes. The intensity had begun to bleed out of the contest, and as the light began to worsen, West Indies were forced into bowling spin from both ends. Nkrumah Bonner, who Brathwaite turned to, is no Sonny Ramadhin; in truth, he was no Roston Chase either. Sending down three no-balls in the only over he bowled, it appeared everyone had had enough, and a day that began explosively ended - after just 74 overs - with a bit of a whimper.
  6. South Africa women are scheduled to play three T20Is and five ODIs in Antigua, starting on August 31 File photo: Dane van Niekerk leads a team talk Dane van Niekerk will return to captain South Africa for the three-T20 and five-ODI series in West Indies, starting on August 31. van Niekerk has not played for the national team since the T20 World Cup semi-final last March. She missed the series against Pakistan and India with a back injury, but returned to action in the women's Hundred, where she is leading the Oval Invincibles. She takes back the position from Sune Luus, who led South Africa in her absence. The series, which will take place in Antigua, also sees the return of allrounder Chloe Tryon, who has not played since the T20 World Cup. Tryon also had a back injury and sat out against Pakistan and India but made her comeback for London Spirit in the Hundred. "A few of our players have been making solid progress in their return from injuries and we are glad to see them giving a good account of themselves in international tournaments," Hilton Moreen, the South Africa coach, said. "We look forward to them taking part in this series after some time away from the national set-up." The rest of the squad is made up of familiar faces including Marizanne Kapp, who has completely recovered from a medical condition which kept her on the sidelines for several weeks earlier in the year. She will be joined by Laura Wolvaardt, Shabnim Ismail, Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee, who are playing in the Hundred. Two others in the squad - Masabata Klaas and Tasmin Brits - have had recent match-time after featuring for the South African Emerging side in a tour to Zimbabwe in May. The rest of the players have been part of training camps, with another one planned ahead of the team's departure. This will be South Africa's first bilateral series since their win over India in March, when they won the ODI series 4-1 and the T20s 2-1. They also played Pakistan in January and February. South Africa squad vs West Indies: Dane Van Niekerk (c), Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondu Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune, Masabata Klaas
  7. Roach and Seales help West Indies pull off a thrilling one-wicket win over Pakistan After taking a five-for in the morning, No. 11 Seales hung around for his partner Roach to hit the winning runs Jayden Seales and Kemar Roach bump fists after the winning runs Antigua 2000, Dominica 2017 and now Jamaica 2021. West Indies and Pakistan added another chapter to the list of enthralling, nail-biting Tests between these two sides as the hosts eked out a stunning one-wicket win with Nos. 9 and 11 holding on. As Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales kept batting, the nerves kept building. Finally, it all came down to a fateful Hasan Ali over, as a nick evaded a valiant dive from Mohammad Rizwan to race away for a boundary before Roach pushed two through the off side to guarantee a 1-0 series lead. Pakistan had their chances, but the story, for now, is thoroughly West Indian. The hosts looked like they had been edged out of this match so often towards the death, and yet refused to acknowledge it was game over. But it did look like that when Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers fell in quick succession, when Jason Holder was cleaned up by Hasan and when Joshua Da Silva - the last recognized batter - fell with 26 still to go. However, West Indies kept knocking down the runs, and the scoreboard pressure shifted entirely to Pakistan. The visitors might have been firm favourites after the hosts had been reduced to nine down, but as Pakistan lost their nerve, Roach and the teenager Seales held theirs. For Pakistan, there was historical precedence in perhaps their most famous Test of all. In 1954, a Fazal Mahmood inspired side defended 167 - exactly what they had on the board today - against England at the Oval: the origin story of Pakistan cricket. It might even have been comfortable when Shaheen Afridi blew apart the top order, and when a middle-order West Indian collapse saw Pakistan burrow deep into their tail. But the catching, so sensational up until the final session, let them down in crucial moments. Roach was put down by Rizwan as a partnership with Da Silva flowered, before Hasan dropped him as well in the deep with 19 runs still to get. In the final session, Da Silva was once again dropped by Abbas. Rizwan's 45-yard sprint to seal Jomel Warrican's fate looked also to have done it for West Indies, but there was perhaps an opportunity to pluck a diving one-handed catch off the Roach edge that ended up going to the boundary in that final over. It may seem ages ago now, but a dramatic morning session saw more drama than many entire days, spanning eight wickets across two innings. Seales led the charge in the mission to remove the lower order cheaply, and within an hour-and-a-half, Pakistan's last five had fallen for 35. Of those 35 runs, 28 were added by an enterprising Hasan in just 26 balls with two fours and two sixes. That pushed the lead above 150 for Pakistan, each extra run giving himself and his fellow bowlers precious breathing room. Moreover, Babar Azam's presence at the crease was always going to be vital, but a Mayers delivery seared up off a crack and looped up to Holder at second slip early in the day. Azam had departed for a valiant 55, and while it brought Pakistan agonizingly close, his side ended up needing just a bit more from him. From there on, it was down to the raw pace of Seales against Pakistan's lower order. Yasir Shah and Afridi were sent back with little bother, but Hasan rode his luck as Pakistan brought up 200. Seales, though, would not be denied a maiden five-for in just his second Test, and got there when Hasan's hook went straight to Roach at fine leg. In the process, he became the youngest West Indies bowler to earn a Test five-for as the hosts were set 168 to win. Jayden Seales became the youngest West Indies bowler to a Test five-for The Afridi show began in a somewhat surreal over that had three reviews for leg before wicket by Pakistan against Kieran Powell, the third finally resulting in success. Kraigg Brathwaite didn't last long in the face of a hostile spell from Afridi, his poke at one that jagged away leading to his downfall, but only after a review. Nkrumah Bonner dragged on in Afridi's following over, and suddenly, the pre-lunch session turned into a damage-limitation exercise for West Indies. After the mad rush of the first session came the relative slow burn of the second. No less absorbing for its slightly slower pace, it carried with it the sensation of a building crescendo. West Indies made the early running as Chase and Jermaine Blackwood, West Indies' top scorer with 55, threatened to take it away for the hosts with a 68-run fourth wicket partnership. They came out after lunch a much more confident pair, Blackwood continuing to put anything too wide or too full away. Hasan in particular came in for punishment off successive overs as he struggled with his lines; and with a small target to defend, there wasn't much room for error, every boundary tilting the scales the batters' way. Chase, Pakistan's pet peeve in 2017, was looking just as untroubled without quite having as much of an impact on the scoreboard. But all West Indies needed was a partnership, and as long as the pair continued remained at the crease, the danger signs flashed for Pakistan. Faheem Ashraf, Pakistan's impact allrounder of late, was the man to break the partnership, constantly threatening Chase's outside edge in a probing over. When the edge came, Imran Butt was never going to drop a low catch; and in Ashraf's next over, the same combination got rid of Kyle Mayers for a pair. But the moment of the session came in late, when a few Holder boundaries had brought the required runs down under 60. Blackwood hung his bat out at Hasan once too often, sending it straight to first slip; except Butt at second decided only he could be trusted behind the stumps, diving sensationally to his left to hold on to a stunner. On the stroke of tea, Holder found his off peg knocked back with a beauty. It looked like a bridge too far when Da Silva and Roach came out after tea still needing 54, but as in Antigua and Dominica, the West Indies lower order refused to give in. They began to knock off the runs gradually, and suddenly, with the pair looking relatively untroubled, West Indies had less than 30 left to go. Pakistan, to their alarm, found they were still in a game, and with West Indies refusing to roll over, it became a game of shredded nerves as much as exquisite skill. There was the glory of Rizwan's catch that spanned the length of the ground, the errors like Hasan's drop at deep square leg, the guts of Roach going for his shots with the ultimate consequence on the line and the heart of Seales seeing off some searing pace bowling from Afridi. Pakistan broke West Indian hearts four years ago, but in a classic that contained shades of Antigua, West Indies have exacted exceptionally sweet revenge in Jamaica.
  8. Babar Azam 54* keeps match in balance after Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales strike Pakistan end day three with a lead of 124 after West Indies had nudged ahead by 36 in the first innings Babar Azam ended day three unbeaten on 54, having added 56 with Mohammad Rizwan The weather was as variable as the momentum swings, and as the last few chapters of this Test unfold, you sense there are still a few plot twists in it. Pakistan still have half their side left, including - crucially - captain Babar Azam on 54 as they try and stretch out a relatively vulnerable 124-run lead beyond the capacity of the hosts in what should be an engrossing fourth innings chase. On either side of a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, West Indies bowlers' were characteristically patient and as consistent as they've been all Test, but will need one final effort to ensure their batters have a target within their reach. The day began in bright, cheery sunshine, and Shaheen Afridi certainly made hay. He allowed just two more runs to the West Indies batters before cleaning up the final two wickets, the lead a slender 36. The prodigious inswing he found was much better directed than anything he had managed the previous day. Jomel Warrican had his stumps knocked back first, before - on just the 16th ball of the day - Joshua Da Silva was trapped dead in front. Thus, part one of Pakistan's plan had been executed to perfection. West Indies then struck early themselves after the changeover, getting rid of the struggling Imran Butt for nought as he pushed his pad out at one that was crashing into middle stump. Thereafter, though, Abid Ali and Azhar Ali settled down, seeing off the pace bowlers without much trouble. Abid looked to take the attack to Warrican early on, too, dancing down the pitch to deposit the left-arm spinner's fourth ball for the first six of the match; it was the shot that erased Pakistan's deficit. Azhar was more circumspect - and less convincing - through the early part of his innings. West Indies tested his footwork and his judgment, operating steadily on a fifth-stump line and beating the outside edge on a number of occasions. When Kemar Roach finally induced the edge, Jason Holder put him down at second slip. Azhar followed it up with two aggressive boundaries either side of the wicket off Warrican as the shackles began to come off. Jayden Seales struck twice after lunch Roach, however, had the last laugh in the last over before lunch, bringing one back in sharply to breach Azhar's defence and crash into his leg stump. It heralded West Indies' best passage of the day, with Jayden Seales welcoming in the post-lunch session with a sumptuous double-strike. Abid, who was set up by slightly short deliveries in the first innings, was presented another short one with the first ball of Seales' spell. The extra bounce which the teenager's pace extracted from the surface saw the opener slash straight to second slip, and Holder made no mistake this time. Three balls later, Fawad Alam fell to an outside edge after lacklustre footwork, and West Indies threatened to blow the Test wide open. Pakistan were now in the perilous position of having lost four wickets with the lead at just 29, and it was left to Mohammad Rizwan and Azam, arguably Pakistan's two best performers over the past year, to take the sting out of the hosts' momentum. Over the next hour or so, they did just that under blackening skies, the runs trickling along gradually. With an increasing amount of sideways movement for the pacers, it was anything but easy, and the 56 runs they managed before the heavens opened may yet be the difference between success and failure. Two-and-a-half-hours later, though, and under clear blue skies, Holder drew Rizwan into a forward defensive push with seam movement producing the edge; West Indies once more appeared to be sniffing at the lower order. Faheem Ashraf, though has shown he isn't a pushover with the bat, and while he possesses the flair he showcased on the first day, the steel was on full display this evening. Scoring just 12 runs in 79 deliveries, he happily played second fiddle to Azam, who brought up a high-quality half-century before the day was done. West Indies may yet rue a dropped slip catch early into Ashraf's innings - Jermaine Blackwood was the culprit - but Pakistan will be reassured by the relative solidity of the pair at the crease. As the light deteriorated and the umpires brought out the light metre after every over, the duo shut up shop completely, and did not look especially susceptible doing so. West Indies took the last five Pakistan wickets for 31 runs on day one. The home side will need a similarly explosive performance tomorrow morning to give themselves the best chance of a manageable chase. The weather would be relatively clear, but the outcome of this tantalising Test remains anything but that.
  9. West Indies grab lead after Brathwaite 97, Holder fifty on day two Hosts recover from 100 for 5 to end the day 34 runs ahead of visitors Jason Holder and Kraigg Brathwaite added 96 for the sixth wicket West Indies and Pakistan's last Test match four years ago was a classic, and if the events at Sabina Park are anything to go by, we may be in for another one. On an attritional day of Test cricket that didn't swing as much as it just gently swayed, the two teams continue to be neck-and-neck. Simple math would dictate the hosts have the edge, leading as they do by 34 runs with two wickets still to spare, but with Yasir Shah in the fourth innings a historically significant factor, all bets are off. Kraigg Brathwaite (97) dominated the day, surviving almost through to the end after having to settle nerves after the frenetic finish of last night. He saw off each of Pakistan's pace bowlers, the first new ball, a dangerous middle order collapse, the introduction of Yasir and two full sessions. But then it all changed as West Indies' most threatening partnership - 95 between the captain and his predecessor was broken. Jason Holder was playing with delightful fluidity as his side pushed past 150 and bore down on Pakistan's first innings score ominously. Yasir, not nearly at his best, was dispatched to the boundary repeatedly, and soon enough, a backfoot punch off Hasan Ali got Holder to his 11th half century. Eight runs later, though, he was gone, a victim of Faheem Ashraf's subtle seam movement. Brathwaite, of course, remained and was even eyeing up a personal three-figure score - ideally before having to face the new ball in darkening conditions. It is hard to say if that played a role in his decision to hare back for a couple down to fine leg, taking on Hasan, whose direct hit caught the opener well short of his ground. He had departed three runs shy of what would have been a splendid hundred, with the wicket coming at a time when West Indies had firm control over the Test. Once Brathwaite fell, the visitors had a real opening, but wayward lines with the new ball, particularly from Shaheen Afridi, saw the lower order continue to eke out runs as Joshua Da Silva manipulated the strike intelligently. By the time the umpires began worrying about the light, West Indies already had a decent lead they will be keen to build on tomorrow. In overcast conditions in the morning, Mohammad Abbas had picked up exactly where he left off the previous day and was the pick of the bowlers, peppering the corridor of uncertainty between a good and full length. Roston Chase and Brathwaite had to be especially sure of their footwork, with the seam movement Abbas was generating an additional challenge. Afridi let his high standards dip somewhat, beginning with two leg-side deliveries that trickled away for four leg-byes each. It settled West Indies' nerves, and once Chase drove Abbas straight down the ground, the runs off the bat became more frequent. Before long, they had brought up a half-century stand. But just as West Indies looked poised to take control, Pakistan struck. Hasan, who had been testing the pair in his first three overs, especially when they got on the front foot, coaxed an expansive front-foot drive from Chase that wasn't really on. It produced a tickle through to Mohammad Rizwan, with an anguished look from the batter revealing quite how ordinary the shot was. The second session was a dogged, scrappy affair that - one sensational over from Afridi aside - West Indies negotiated with relative conviction. The problem for them, though, was that this time would be defined by four balls from Afridi more than anything any batter could manage. Just after West Indies brought up their hundred, Pakistan broke through with the wicket they had threatened before lunch. Jermaine Blackwood's punchy counter-attacking knock might have been evocative of Rizwan's cameo on the first day but it wasn't nearly as assured, with all four of his boundaries coming off shots he wasn't in control of. Afridi landed one in the slot for him to go after, but with the ball wobbling in the air, Blackwood only managed to toe-end it to Abbas at long-on. The very next ball, Kyle Mayers was struck full on the pad, and found himself departing for a golden duck. It might have gotten worse for West Indies. Two balls later, the irrepressible Afridi had Holder trapped in front, with the umpire raising the finger. The allrounder would survive by the barest of margins, with the review showing the ball pitching just outside leg stump. Holder understood the magnitude of the moment, and dug in. He did not score until a straight drive off his 12th delivery, and didn't score again for 22 more balls. He knew the chance would eventually come, and launched into a wayward Yasir over towards the back-end of the session. Brathwaite, meanwhile, was pretty much batting on a different surface. His patience was exemplary, his shot selection immaculate. When Pakistan appeared to be having one of their purple patches, he had the awareness to retreat completely into his shell and place an even greater value on his wicket, and with Holder keeping the scoring ticking over at the other end, West Indies began to take control. The quick departure of both let Pakistan back in, though, and it feels increasingly as if it might all come down to fine margins again. Just as it did in 2017.
  10. Mohammad Abbas rattles West Indies after Jayden Seales, Jason Holder limit Pakistan to 217 Fawad Alam hit 56, and added 85 for the sixth wicket with Faheem Ashraf Jayden Seales is jubilant after getting Azhar Ali It is difficult to take issue with a day of Test match cricket when you win the toss, field first and bowl the opposition out within the day for 217, but West Indies will realise they might have easily have had a much firmer grasp on this Test match by now. It was an 85-run partnership between Fawad Alam, who top scored with 56, and Faheem Ashraf - two men who have spent varying periods of time out of this Test side for similarly unsatisfactory reasons - that appeared to have pulled Pakistan back to parity. But a self-destructive run-out with an hour to play allowed West Indies back in, and their quartet of quicks flicked the switch back, romping through the lower order to skittle Pakistan. They might, however, have done their job a bit too well at the end, because it forced the hosts into batting for an awkward four-over period. During that time, Mohammad Abbas prised out Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner for ducks with characteristically glorious seam bowling, leaving West Indies wobbling at 2 for 2 overnight. The first two sessions set up the day for a grand finale, and much of the moving happened in those final two and a half hours. Alam and Ashraf were still getting their feet under the table in a budding little partnership of 23 as they walked out after tea, but a counterattacking knock from the allrounder saw Pakistan hurtle past 150. On a day when the run rate barely tiptoed past 2.25, 52 runs came off the first ten overs in that last session. Ashraf might be at pains to insist he is a bowling allrounder, but he averages over 50 with the bat since his return to the side in December last year. The belligerent pull in front of square and the elegant drive in front of cover were both in full flow, and when West Indies turned to their spinners to give the pacers a break, the runs flowed even more steadily. It appeared Ashraf had helped bail Pakistan out of a tight spot once more, but as the 100-run stand approached, the visitors offered West Indies a gift all wrapped up with a bow on it. Alam and Ashraf set off for an unnecessary single, chancing the arm of Roston Chase, whose shy caught Ashraf short of his crease. The wicket gave West Indies a second wind, and despite a brief cameo from Hasan Ali, the fast bowlers found the quality that had subdued Pakistan for much of the first two sessions, and blew through Alam and the tail. The last three fell without a run being scored after Jayden Seales had Hasan hole out on the onside, while Jason Holder broke through Alam's defences and had Abbas edge one for a golden duck. Once Pakistan were put in to bat on a morning when showers were forecast, they began stodgily as a potent new ball pairing of Kemar Roach and Seales prowled. Abid Ali and Imran Butt were viewed as the Achilles heel of the visiting side's batting line-up, and both fell cheaply, leaving the rebuild to Pakistan's two best batters: Azhar Ali and Babar Azam. Fawad Alam and Faheem Ashraf shared a half-century stand Roach and Seales - who now have two wickets each - found prodigious movement with the new ball, which they were careful not to waste. Captain Brathwaite had said yesterday his side had plans against each Pakistan player, and the way they went about dismantling the openers' techniques suggested he had a point. Both were discomfited by deliveries that kept seaming back in of a length, and when the change-up from Roach targeted Butt's stumps on the full, he was never in position to play the expansive drive he attempted. He found his off stump uprooted, and it had been coming. Abid had come off the back of an unbeaten double hundred against Zimbabwe, but against sterner opposition previously, his record remains remarkably mediocre. He got off to a streaky start with a thick outside edge that evaded the slips bringing him his first runs, but ever since, scoring opportunities were rarer than a dry day this series. Seales set him up with short deliveries through the over before pitching one up, and the Pakistan opener obliged by nicking it through to Joshua da Silva. Pakistan might have been content to lose just the two openers in the shortened first session, but in an extended second session in hot, humid conditions, West Indies ripped the spine out of the middle order. Their quartet of fast bowlers rose to the occasion, bowling expertly in partnerships - much more so than Pakistan batted in them. Azhar and Azam were removed within five deliveries of each other. Azhar in particular struggled dismally throughout an uncomfortable sojourn out in the middle, surviving no fewer than four reviews before finally nicking off to Holder. The next delivery Azam faced, he found Roach had beaten him on the inside edge, and when West Indies reviewed for a possible feather through to the keeper, Hawkeye supported their claim. All of a sudden, what had been a "nearly" session for Brathwaite's side was transforming into a dominant one. It wasn't ill-deserved, either. For the first 45 overs, the hosts stuck with the four pace bowlers, allowing them limited rest in oppressively humid conditions. Not for any extended period, though, was there a discernible let-up in intensity, a dropping of the shoulders or the pernicious creep-in of bad body language. The balls kept landing in the right areas, the pace didn't fall away and Pakistan continued to be asked questions. Mohammad Rizwan would be the man to answer them, because Rizwan, apparently, does every job Pakistan require nowadays. His first ball was clipped away to midwicket for a boundary, and it soon became evident that that was how the wicketkeeper-batter would play. Seales was pulled away for four the first ball he bowled, and two further boundaries off the same bowler saw the run rate trend upwards. Rizwan fell shortly after, but it was during the Alam-Ashraf partnership, and the manic final hour which saw seven wickets fall that swung the game this way and that before leaving it finely poised overnight.
  11. Shakib Al Hasan and Stafanie Taylor have been voted the winners of the ICC Player of the Month for July 2021. Shakib, who was nominated alongside West Indies’ Hayden Walsh Jr and Australia’s Mitchell Marsh, had a stellar July. The Bangladesh all-rounder starred in the side’s series wins against Zimbabwe – he scored 145 runs and picked up eight wickets in the ODIs and followed that up with three wickets in the T20Is at an economy of 7. He also picked up five wickets in the one-off Test, comprising a 4/82 in the first innings, as Bangladesh won by 220 runs. “It is very humbling to be voted ICC Men’s Player of the Month for July 2021,” Shakib told ICC. “There have been many outstanding performances during the month and that is why this is special for me. “I find most pleasure and satisfaction when I contribute to wins and therefore, I am very happy to have helped in Bangladesh’s successes over the last few weeks.” Taylor was the standout performer for West Indies in the limited-overs series against Pakistan. She was nominated for the award alongside teammate Hayley Matthews and Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, but her all-round performance in the series helped her claim the most votes. In four ODIs against Pakistan, Taylor scored 175 runs with a strike-rate of 79.18, and also picked up three wickets at an economical 3.72. She also picked up four wickets in the T20Is at 9.25, and a stunning economy of 5.55. “This is a bit surprising to me, winning ICC Player of the Month award for July, but I’m happy,” Taylor told ICC. “It shows that the hard work you put in, will pay off and it did, against Pakistan, to help us win that series. We played well in both formats. “I’m over in England now playing in The Hundred, which is a different kind of competition, played at a faster pace, but I’m still working hard. We’re also looking forward to the series against South Africa at home, and we will be looking to win that as well. I want to thank the fans for all their support, as it is always appreciated.”
  12. Gabriel has been given time to complete his injury recovery while Bravo takes a break after spending a prolonged period in the national team's bio-bubble File photo: Brooks made a century in last week's intra-squad match ast bowler Chemar Holder and middle-order batter Shamarh Brooks have returned to the West Indies squad for the two-Test series against Pakistan beginning August 12 in Kingston. Holder has recovered from an injury that ruled him out of the home Tests against South Africa earlier this year, while Brooks makes it to the 17-man contingent on the back of a century in an intra-squad warm-up game last week. In what is the first series for West Indies in the new World Test Championship cycle, Holder replaces the experienced Shannon Gabriel, who has been left out to complete his recovery from a hamstring injury. Brooks comes in for Darren Bravo, who has been given a break since since he has been in a bio-bubble since early June. It will be Holder's first comeback of sorts since his debut against New Zealand in December last year. Since then, he has not played any first-class cricket, but lead selector Roger Harper expects him to "bolster" the pace contingent that also includes Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder. As for Brooks, Harper said that the right-hand batter's 134 in the warm-up game, led by national team captain Kraigg Brathwaite and vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood respectively, helped hm break into the squad. He will be fighting for a spot in the middle-order that has Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase and Blackwood. "I expect the team to be highly competitive in every department while playing with passion, purpose and determination," Harper was quoted as saying in a CWI press release. "I look forward to the batsmen stepping up as they did in the series against Bangladesh and against Sri Lanka earlier this year in Antigua. West Indies had finished second-last in the previous iteration of the WTC, winning only three of their 13 matches. In the cycle for 2021-2023, they begin with the two Tests against Pakistan and then meet Bangladesh, England, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-capt), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jomel Warrican.
  13. Pakistan win series 1-0 after rain forces another washout in Guyana Shaheen Shah Afridi was rested again by the visitors File photo: The Providence Stadium wears a flooded look Rain allowed only three overs to be bowled in the fourth - and final T20I - in Guyana, which meant Pakistan, courtesy of their win in the second game, won the four-match rain-marred series 1-0. After winning the toss on Tuesday, Babar Azam put West Indies in on a damp pitch on an overcast morning. With both sides unchanged from the last washout, Andre Fletcher and Chris Gayle once again opened the innings. Fletcher kicked off the innings by hitting two sixes off Mohammad Hafeez in the opening over and Gayle followed it up with two fours off Mohammad Wasim Jr in the next. West Indies were 30 for no loss after three overs when rain halted play. That was around 11.15am local time. When the rain eventually relented, the umpires had an inspection at 1.25pm and decided to resume at 2.00pm. The match was reduced to nine overs per side but just when play was about to restart, the rain returned to have the final say. At the toss, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard had said that this would be the last international game for Dwayne Bravo in the Caribbean and that his side wanted to give him a win. The weather though had other plans.
  14. Torrential rain wipes out third T20I, Pakistan lead series 1-0 Only six minutes of play possible after West Indies opt to bat Only six minutes of play was possible on Sunday Rain allowed only six minutes of play in the third T20I between West Indies and Pakistan at the Providence Stadium in Guyana before the umpires decided to call off the match. Two out of four matches of the series have now been washed out, and only one game remains to be played. In the eight deliveries that were possible, Andre Fletcher found time to smack two sixes from the six balls he faced - one each of Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Wasim. Fletcher got stuck into Hafeez, walloping him over long-on, before swinging Wasim over the bowler's head. That turned out to be the final delivery before the heavens opened up again. Rain stopped almost one-and-a-half hours later with the covers taken off soon after as prospects of a five or six-overs shootout brightened. But an inspection 17 minutes prior to the cut-off time put paid to any hopes of play, with one part of the ground still relatively wet. The originally-scheduled five-match T20I leg of the tour, which first had one match shaved off due to Covid-19, is now down to one more game at the same ground on Tuesday. Pakistan lead the series 1-0, having won the second T20I by seven runs on Saturday.
  15. Economical Hafeez, half-centurion Babar set up Pakistan win as Pooran onslaught in vain Mohammad Rizwan made 46 before Mohammad Hafeez helped seal a seven-run victory with 4-1-6-1 against West Indies Babar Azam hammers one onto the on-side Nicholas Pooran made his highest T20I score of 62 runs off 33 balls, but with no other West Indian striking at a rate above 107, the hosts, chasing 158, went down by seven runs against Pakistan in the second T20I in Guyana. West Indies were strangled by Mohammad Hafeez's accurate offbreaks and Shadab Khan's mix of legbreaks and googlies, and the loss of regular wickets kept them behind in the chase. Hafeez's four-over spell at an economy of 1.50 earned him the Player-of-the-Match award, though Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, too, made strong claims to that prize. Azam, the only other half-centurion on the day, scored a 40-ball 51 that helped Pakistan cruise through the middle overs. With Rizwan, who made a 36-ball 46, Azam put on a 67-run second-wicket partnership. It set the tone for Pakistan to post a total well beyond the 157 they eventually achieved, but Jason Holder - who picked a four-wicket haul - and Dwayne Bravo kept taking wickets in the death overs to keep the visitors' hard-hitting middle and lower order quiet. Rizwan, Babar show their class With Sharjeel Khan falling for a promising 16-ball 20, it was well inside the powerplay that Pakistan's two most prolific batters of the last year got together. Initially, Azam was the slower one between the two as Rizwan punished Akeal Hosein for two sixes and followed it up with a four off Bravo. Azam then found two boundaries off Romario Shepherd - playing instead of Andre Russell - through the leg side to get his day going, and despite accumulating a few dots thereafter, he found a way to break the rut. Hayden Walsh's googly was pulled for six, his half-tracker was cut for four, and in the space of a few overs, Azam had raced away to 41 in 33 balls. All this while, Rizwan was content dabbing the ball for ones and twos while Azam changed gears. But, in the 15th over, Rizwan fell victim to a direct-hit four runs short of a ninth T20I fifty. Azam had tapped a ball to the vacant midwicket and called early for the two, but a top effort from Evin Lewis to hit the non-striker's stumps while the batters scurried for the second sent Rizwan back. However, Rizwan's 46 was enough for him to earn the distinction of being the most prolific T20I batter in any calendar year with five months still to go in 2021. In the following over, Azam hit Shepherd for six to reach his fifty in 38 balls. A rain interruption followed soon after. Pakistan collapse after rain The rain break was short, and when Pakistan returned with four overs to go with the score 134 for 2, there was a genuine chance for them to aim for over 180. But Azam fell right then, out caught behind in a contentious decision where it appeared the bat may have hit the ground - and not the ball - but the umpire deemed it fair. Bravo then picked up Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman in quick succession, followed by Holder removing Hasan Ali and Sohaib Maqsood, with Shepherd taking a one-handed stunner by the boundary line. Eventually, Pakistan added just 23 in their last 24 balls to reach 157. A lesson from the professor With right-hander Andre Fletcher taking strike in the chase, it was Hafeez's spin that kicked off the proceedings. He struck second ball when Fletcher looked to defend a delivery that he had expected would turn in, leaving the channel outside off vacant. The ball zipped through, and knocked the off stump back, making his return to the XI - in place of the injured Lendl Simmons - somewhat underwhelming. That spin would be a dominant factor in the chase, and Hafeez would continue to bowl in the powerplay against the two left-handers Evin Lewis and No. 3 Chris Gayle. Hafeez was mostly full on off and middle stump, and with the assistance of some sharp work from the infielders, he eked out 13 dot balls in his first spell of three overs where he conceded just five runs, including one maiden. Later, when Pooran came in as the new batter in the 12th over, Hafeez was brought back against the left-hander, where he kept the pressure up with five dots and one single. In all, his four-over spell went for only six runs and earned him a wicket - his most economical T20I spell ever. Lewis cramps up at a crucial time Having seen Fletcher and Gayle fall without making much impact in a 31-run powerplay, Lewis took the conservative route early on. When Usman Qadir tossed it up early in his spell, Lewis went for the slog sweep for six that helped break his shackles. Soon after, Lewis had deposited fast bowler Mohammad Wasim's slower ball for six over long off, and in Shimron Hetmyer's company it seemed that the asking rate - that was starting to touch ten - would be brought down. However, Hetmyer was struggling with his timing, and scoring at a strike rate of just around 100. He had to join Lewis in finding those big shots, and lost his middle stump trying to hit Wasim over cow corner, out for an 18-ball 17. With Pooran, the new batter at No. 5, only starting to get his eyes in, West Indies suffered another setback as Lewis was grounded by a stomach cramp on 35, and had to leave the field retired hurt with the equation reading 82 required off 36. Pooran power Pollard walked in as Lewis walked out, and the first thing he did with Pooran was to see Shadab Khan's final over out. After that, Pollard observed from the non-striker's end as Pooran tore into a wayward 16th over that exposed the teenager's inexperience. More such overs were needed if West Indies were to swing the result in their favour. However, only one of the batters could make adequate contact between bat and ball. While Pooran smashed Hasan for three sixes in the 17th and 19th overs, and Shaheen Shah Afridi for back-to-back fours in the 18th, Pollard kept finding the fielders. The last of those sixes off Hasan brought up Pooran's fifty, in 28 balls, but only 11 from Pollard's first 12 balls meant West Indies needed 20 off the final six deliveries. Shaheen conceded just two off the first four, and took Pollard's wicket, and that meant he had done enough to seal Pakistan's victory, though he got hit by Pooran for four and six off the game's last two deliveries.
  16. Rain plays spoilsport as first West Indies-Pakistan T20I gets washed out after nine overs Hasan Ali and debutant Mohammad Wasim impress for Pakistan with the ball Kieron Pollard's nine-ball 22 was the most entertaining batting display on the day Incessant rain first reduced the first West Indies-Pakistan T20I to a nine-over shootout before eventually washing away the match. Pakistan had chosen to bowl first under cloudy skies with rain also predicted, but the teams raced off to the dressing room just after completing their national anthems. It took almost three hours for the rain to stop and the ground to dry, with the umpires then deciding to curtail the contest. But of whatever was played, Kieron Pollard and the Pakistan bowlers combined to ensure there was entertaining cricket while it lasted. Debutant Wasim has instant impact All it took right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim to land a blow was five balls, although that was not a wicket. In the second over of the West Indies innings, he pitched one short of a length on middle and off, and got it to angle in with the bounce on to Lendl Simmons, who missed his pull. The ball instead hit him on the right side of his neck, immediately inviting the physio on the ground, who decided to take Simmons off with a sling protecting his right arm. Wasim was taken off after that, but returned to bowl the seventh over. After hurting Simmons, he then had Chris Gayle caught at long-on as the bowler now brought out the slower ball. Gayle, who had come in after Simmons, played away from his body to try and heave that, but only found the fielder in search of rapid runs. Just wickets and sixes Amidst a flurry of dot balls - which were 30 in total - and a bunch of extras, which contributed 14, there were five wickets claimed with as many sixes slammed from the third over until the eighth. Hasan Ali got two, while Mohammad Hafeez, Usman Qadir and Wasim all grabbed a wicket each. Nicholas Pooran cracked twin sixes off Hafeez, before Gayle deposited Shadab Khan over his head and Andre Russell dispatched Qadir over extra cover - all this, before Pollard got into Ali with a whip. Pollard provides late entertainment, but Hasan delivers too Pollard arrived at the crease with one ball of the sixth over left, but watched from the other end as Gayle fell in the following over with West Indies' run rate still under nine. With Pollard on strike, Ali was brought back for the eighth after foxing Evin Lewis off his first ball earlier in the innings. This time, Ali was whacked first ball over deep square leg as Pollard swung his bat to a good length ball on middle and leg, and despite not quite finding the middle of the bat, sent the ball sailing over deep square leg. But that was the only boundary Ali conceded off his two overs, digging the slower balls perfectly on a rain-affected pitch to keep the West Indies batters quiet. Ali then got Shimron Hetmyer three balls later - Mohammad Rizwan completed a good diving catch - with the hosts struggling for momentum amidst the numerous cutters from the visiting bowlers. Pollard was on 10 off 5 deliveries when only four balls remained in the innings, and the West Indies captain ensured they were well taken care of. A dot ball later, Shaheen Afridi pitched one short on middle and leg as Pollard pulled fiercely to bisect deep square leg and deep midwicket for four. After nabbing two more runs, he ended with a maximum by sending the ball crashing over deep square leg when he made room to a length ball on middle and off, and pulled with disdain. Although he got 12 runs off the last three balls, rain would have the final say with Pakistan not having to chase the total.
  17. Matthew Wade backs up Australia's bowlers to secure series victory Ashton Agar was impressive on his return while Mitchell Starc claimed another three wickets Led by a collective bowling display from their quicks and spinners, then finished by Matthew Wade's half-century, a significantly depleted Australia took the ODI series against West Indies with a four-wicket victory in Barbados on a surface where batting was a challenge throughout. Nicholas Pooran was bowled without offering a shot Australia's trio of spinners - the recalled Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Ashton Turner - shared five wickets with the tally matched by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as West Indies could only muster 152 having had the chance to bat first. Evin Lewis, who returned after retiring hurt in the fourth over after a blow on the helmet, was the only batter to pass 18. The chase wobbled to begin with and the spin of Akeal Hosein and Hayden Walsh Jr threatened to undo Australia's good work in the field, but a calculated positive approach from Wade, Alex Carey and Mitchell Marsh paid dividends as the target was quickly whittled down despite the loss of wickets. Marsh's 29 off 21 balls with three sixes made considerable inroads until he fell in a Sheldon Cottrell over that cost 17 - a sizeable chunk of a small chase. When Carey was lbw on review against Walsh Jr it was 99 for 4 and West Indies still had a chance but Wade twice found the stands to finish the job with a 51-ball fifty. Australia had all-but acknowledged they misread conditions in the previous match when they continued with a pace-heavy attack and made amends this time with the recall of Agar who had recovered from a hamstring injury. He was one of three changes with Dan Christian brought back for his first ODI in seven years - and first List A match in four - after Ben McDermott's ankle injury further stretched their resources with Aaron Finch out of the tour. After Lewis had retired hurt under concussion protocols when he top-edged Starc into his helmet Hazlewood, who was rested for the second match, made the first breakthrough as the recalled Shimron Hetmyer dragged into his stumps. Spin was introduced in the seventh over and proceeded to make major inroads. Shai Hope popped a catch to point when a delivery from Agar went through the top and Turner continued his handy role with the ball when Nicholas Pooran shouldered arms at one that went straight on and into off stump. Darren Bravo had deposited one delivery from Agar straight for six but an attempted repeated ended in an ugly carve to point when he was defeated by a shorter length. Matthew Wade guided Australia's chase home A return to pace brought reward straightaway when Starc struck with the first ball of his second spell, having Kieron Pollard caught cover as the West Indies captain paid the price for driving. Lewis returned at the fall of the fifth wicket but soon lost Jason Holder when he played across the line at Zampa. While conditions were difficult, West Indies had a helping hand in a number of their dismissals Lewis and Alzarri Joseph showed what was possible with a 44-run stand that mixed good defence with some occasional aggression but Hazlewood broke through with his first ball back when he found Joseph's edge. None of the lower could stay with Lewis long enough and towards the back-end of the innings the scoring dried to a trickle with Australia happy to bowl as much as possible to the tailenders and Lewis not farming the strike until Cottrell arrived. Lewis brought up his fifty from 66 balls when he swung Zampa's last delivery over deep midwicket for six, but it left Cottrell on strike to Starc. It took just one more ball and lifted Starc's series tally to 11 wickets at 10.83. Australia began in stuttering fashion with Moises Henriques, who has had a disappointing tour, was trapped lbw by Hosein the ball after a huge shout for a catch at short leg. It was something of a surprise that Henriques filled in for the injured McDermott at the top - just the fourth time he had opened in List A cricket - and he has missed his chance to make a claim for a longer run in the team. Josh Philippe, too, has struggled to adapt to the pitches on this tour and glanced an edge down the leg side against Joseph in the eighth over. Australia decided that prodding their way to the target would be fraught with danger and Marsh took it upon himself to hurry things along before gloving a pull down the leg side having taken 10 off two balls against Cottrell. Carey was busy at the crease, relying heavily on sweeps, and was dropped at short third man on 18 by Joseph off a reverse. A conventional sweep brought his downfall when Walsh Jr straightened one to take leg stump. Knowing that West Indies' two main spinners turned the ball the same away - Pollard had experimented with two overs of offspin - the left-handed Agar was sent in at No. 6 and alongside Wade it soon became a canter for Australia who have still not lost a bilateral one-day series against West Indies since 1995.
  18. Postponement of second WI vs Aus ODI has domino effect on Pakistan series Pakistan's tour of West Indies will begin with the first T20I in Bridgetown on July 28 Complications due to Covid-19 has cut an entire T20I out of Pakistan's tour of the West Indies. Set to begin a day later than originally scheduled (July 28), also due to the pandemic, the series will now feature only four T20Is, instead of the previously planned five. This is the result of one of the non-playing staff in the West Indies set-up testing positive for the virus two days ago. It forced one of their ODIs against Australia to be postponed and that in turn has had a domino effect on the Pakistan series, prompting the PCB and the CWI to strike off one of the T20Is that was part of the original tour calendar. Ricky Skerritt, the Cricket West Indies president, said: "Together with the PCB, CWI have examined various scenarios, and we jointly agreed that the best solution in the present circumstances is to cancel the first T20I and play a four-match T20I series starting on Wednesday and keep the rest of the tour schedule unchanged." Both Pakistan and West Indies, who are the defending champions, are on the final legs of their preparation for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE from October 17.
  19. Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder earn West Indies series-leveling victory Australia slumped to 45 for 6 with Akeal Hosein taking three quick wickets Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran steadied West Indies Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder rescued West Indies from more top-order troubles to level the ODI series in Barbados in the match that was delayed by 48 hours after the Covid-19 scare in the home side's camp. In the end it was Australia's collapse that proved decisive when they crumbled to 45 for 6 as left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein claimed three wickets in six balls. The last four wickets turned the innings around by adding 142, which included a 59-run ninth-wicket stand between Adam Zampa and Wes Agar, then when West Indies slipped to 72 for 5 - with Mitchell Starc again brilliant - there was the chance of a remarkable resurgence. However, Pooran and Holder played with excellent composure knowing that the required rate was never an issue. Pooran was given lives on 26 and 49, the first when Moises Henriques spilled a simple chance at mid-off, and Holder was reprieved by the DRS but it was a well-constructed stand during which Holder brought up his first ODI fifty since the 2019 World Cup while Pooran was unbeaten to finish things off. Even though the toss remained from two days ago, West Indies had given permission for Australia to make a change to their XI with Agar replacing Josh Hazlewood who had been managing a calf niggle and hadn't been able to get the usual treatment due to two days of isolation while everyone in the bubble was retested. West Indies struck in the opening over when Ben McDermott nicked a wide delivery from Sheldon Cottrell's second ball and after Josh Philippe had briefly shone he picked out deep square leg with a pull. Cottrell's first spell had been just two overs as he left the field but his replacement, Holder, made a significant inroad when he produced an excellent delivery to take Mitchell Marsh's outside edge. Then it was over to Hosein. There was no captain's innings from Alex Carey this time as he was comprehensively beaten through the gate by a fantastic delivery that spun sharply from quite wide. Henriques' disappointing tour continued when he edged a drive to slip, a reward for Hosein throwing his line a touch wider to entice the shot. Two balls later, he produced another gem, dropping a delivery on the middle and leg which then ripped past Ashton Turner's edge to take middle stump. At that point, a very early finish was a possibility. Starc and Matthew Wade started a rebuild with a stand of 51 which was broken by Hayden Walsh Jr who had Starc lbw sweeping, via the DRS, having survived the same mode of dismissal on 7 when the review system overturned the decision. On both occasions, the umpire was Joel Wilson on a day he had four decisions overturned. Wade never found fluency but had little choice but to try and bat through the innings. However, the revival then came from the unlikely pairing of Zampa and Agar in a stand of 59 in seven overs which included Agar twice clearing the rope as West Indies became a little ragged in the closing stages until things ended in consecutive deliveries. It did not take long for a target of 188 to look much more challenging on a challenging surface. Starc was again on-song in his first spell as he pinned Evin Lewis lbw - having seen the opener saved from a caught behind in the opening over - and produced another pearler for his collection to extract Darren Bravo's off stump. Spin then made an impact as Zampa caused plenty of problems with his googly, firstly removing Jason Mohammed with some help from the pad and then going right through Kieron Pollard. Between those wickets, Turner, a part-time offspinner, struck with his second delivery in ODIs when Shai Hope, who had played superbly against Starc, ran past one that slid on to take off stump. While that was a smart piece of captaincy by Carey, it also highlighted one of Australia's problems as they lacked the second frontline spinner which West Indies possessed. Alongside the absence of Hazlewood, it left a lot on the shoulders of Starc and Zampa who couldn't conjure another breakthrough in time - although Zampa should have done when Pooran was shelled with 65 still needed. In the over following that miss, Holder pulled debutant Riley Meredith for six over deep square leg which saw McDermott clatter into the boundary borders as he tried to reach the catch and hobble away. The rest of the chase was not without the occasional nervy moments particularly when Starc had Holder lbw with 23 needed. Pooran, who earlier became the third-fastest West Indies men's batter to 1000 ODI runs, went to 49 with a six off Turner and brought up fifty when Wade could not hold a top edge at slip which he was moving the wrong way for. There was then a sigh of relief when Starc finished his 10 overs.
  20. The second ODI will now restart on Saturday with the final match taking place on Monday Australian players leave the ground after the match was called off The ODI series between West Indies and Australia will resume on Saturday with the final match now taking place on Monday after no further positive Covid-19 tests were reported in the bubble. The second ODI was suspended moments before play was due to begin on Thursday with the toss having already taken place when a positive test came through from a non-playing member of the West Indies squad. That game will now resume from the position it was halted with Australia batting first on Saturday and the teams remaining as named. The two squads as well as match officials and TV crew were immediately returned to the hotel after the positive result on Thursday and put into room isolation where they were retested with all 152 coming back negative on Friday morning. All those involved remained in isolation on Friday while negotiations went on between Cricket West Indies, Cricket Australia and health officials and further investigations took place over the source of the positive test. "We are happy to be able to announce the restart of the CG Insurance ODI series at Kensington Oval tomorrow," Ricky Skerritt, the CWI president said. "We want to thank our counterparts at CA for their co-operation in this matter as we look to get the games going again. "Special thanks to our CEO Johnny Grave, Chairman of Cricket Australia, Earl Eddings, his CEO Nick Hockley along with our respective medical and operations teams. I appreciate the crucial role of the BCA and the Government of Barbados for working closely with CWI to ensure everything is in place for resuming the series. " "It has been a challenging two days and we have worked very swiftly and safely, following all the established medical protocols, to make sure that all necessary precautions are in place to ensure that we can go-ahead to resume play safely, tomorrow. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly." With the ODI series now extended to Monday, CWI will have discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board about potential adjustments to the T20I series which is due to start in Barbados on Tuesday. Australia were already due to stay on the island for three days after the end of the one-day series before taking a charter fight to Dhaka ahead of the five-match T20I series against Bangladesh which was confirmed earlier this week.
  21. The toss had taken place and teams confirmed before the match was halted Shai Hope's return is a bonus for West Indies Australia won the toss and decided to bat against West Indies - Match suspended The second ODI in Barbados was suspended moments before the first ball was due to be bowled after reports of a positive Covid test emerged. A short while later a CWI spokesman confirmed the match had been "postponed" with more details to come. The toss had already taken place with teams named when the situation began to unfold. Australia captain Alex Carey had been able to take the same route as the opening game as he won the toss and opted to bat first. Carey was again leading the side in the absence of Aaron Finch. Australia handed an ODI debut to fast bowler Riley Meredith in place of Wes Agar. West Indies has been boosted by the return of wicketkeeper-batter Shai Hope after an ankle injury kept him out of the opening match. He will open the batting in place of Shimron Hetmyer and take the gloves off Nicholas Pooran. West Indies crashed to 27 for 6 in the first game against Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood before losing by 133 runs. West Indies 1 Shai Hope (wk), 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Alzarri Joseph, 9 Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Sheldon Cottrell Australia 1 Ben McDermott, 2 Josh Philippe, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Matthew Wade, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Riley Meredith, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
  22. Mitchell Starc's five blows West Indies away to give Alex Carey winning start West Indies slumped to 27 for 6 as Starc and Hazlewood did the early damage and never recovered enough Mitchell Starc took a five-wicket haul as he and Josh Hazlewood dismantled West Indies in the opening ODI to give Alex Carey, who had earlier played a key hand with the bat, a winning start as Australia's ODI captain. Carey, standing in for the injured Aaron Finch, had formed the backbone of Australia's innings with Ashton Turner in a fifth-wicket stand of 104 in 19 overs before Hayden Walsh Jr sparked a late collapse with a career-best five-wicket haul. However, Australia's 252 - which was adjusted to a target of 257 after three rain interruptions cut the match to 49 overs - quickly looked imposing as Starc and Hazlewood got to work with the new ball to leave West Indies in a heap at 27 for 6. Starc took three wickets in his first spell and then returned to end the aggressive rearguard of Kieron Pollard. Pollard hit a 41-ball fifty, but the West Indies captain had been left with far too much ground to regain. Starc, whose form had improved through the T20I series, removed Evin Lewis first ball with a low return catch from a leading edge and then produced a trademark inswinger to castle Jason Mohammed. Hazlewood then showed off his skills with a superb one-handed catch to his left off his own bowling to snaffle Shimron Hetymer's leading edge - the pitch, where the ball was going through the top, proved tough to drive on. Mitchell Starc ripped through the West Indies batting line-up Nicholas Pooran became Starc's third wicket when an lbw decision was upheld with the ball trimming leg stump and Hazlewood kept pace with his new-ball partner as Darren Bravo drove carelessly to point, when some circumspection was needed, and then Jason Holder hooked to long leg. At six down inside eight overs, the match was heading for a very swift finish but Pollard counterattacked against Adam Zampa, with Alzarri Joseph providing solid support in a seventh-wicket stand. Mitchell Marsh broke through when he knocked back Joseph's off stump before Starc returned to add the finishing touches with his eighth five-wicket bag. For only the third time since 1980-81, Australia handed out three ODI debuts in the same game with Josh Philippe, Ben McDermott and Wes Agar given their caps. For South Australia quick Agar - his brother Ashton handed him his cap - it was a first international appearance. Agar ended up delivering six tight overs after the early damage inflicted by Starc and Hazlewood. Philippe and McDermott were paired at the top of the order - the last time Australia had two new openers in the same ODI was also the last time they fielded three debutants, against Sri Lanka in 2012-13 - and they made a strong start led by Philippe who dominated the scoring. Philippe twice cleared the ropes in the first ten overs, the first a pull off the slightly wayward Sheldon Cottrell and then a clean strike down the ground off Mohammed, before undoing his good work when he chopped on trying to give himself room against Akeal Hosein. The in-form Marsh set off in positive fashion before glancing a catch down the leg side that wasn't given on field but was overturned by DRS - Marsh knew his fate and was walking off when the review was called. Hayden Walsh Jr had career-best returns of 5 for 39 On a surface where the ball was occasionally going through the top from the quicks and offering some turn for the spinners, timing wasn't always easy and Australia's innings became harder work against good spells from Hosein, who bowled his ten overs straight through, and Joseph. Moises Henriques' difficult 24-ball stay ended with a top-edged a sweep to short fine-leg and when McDermott - who had only faced 48 balls in 25 overs - nicked the deserving Joseph to slip, Australia were 114 for 4. By then Carey had already opened his boundary account with a slog-swept six off Hosein and after a second rain break, he took consecutive boundaries from Mohammed's part-time offspin. Turner was given a life on 12 when he pulled Cottrell towards long leg but Mohammed could not hold a low chance as he ran in off the boundary. That was in an eight-over period where Australia did not find the boundary against some tight bowling from Walsh Jr and Joseph. Carey began to kick things on when he brought up his fifty with a flat six over long-off, which was followed next ball by a scooped four off Holder. Turner then started to find his range with back-to-back sixes off Holder - the first a strong blow over wide long-on followed by a top edge over the keeper - before another rain interruption. Walsh Jr had been held back until the 29th over by Pollard but then conceded barely three an over for the majority of his spell. In his eighth over, Carey missed a sweep to lose his leg stump and Turner top-edged to deep square one short of his fifty, which was followed by Starc and Matthew Wade picking out fielders deep on the leg side in a five-wicket haul that took 16 balls to complete. But in the end, though, Australia had more than enough.
  23. Evin Lewis' sparkling display and scintillating fielding give West Indies 4-1 margin Fabian Allen took an astonishing catch in the deep to halt Australia's chase Evin Lewis acknowledges his half-century A fiery half-century from Evin Lewis laid the platform for a 200 target set by West Indies, which seemed well within reach for Australia until a slew of dynamic fielding efforts during the chase turned the tide back the way of the hosts as West Indies clinched a 16-run victory to complete a 4-1 series win at Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia. Lewis attacked pace and spin in equal measure to blaze a 23-ball fifty and ultimately finished with 79 off 34 balls, including four fours and nine sixes, to pace West Indies through the first half of their innings after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. The hosts looked on track for well in excess of 200 while Lewis was still at the crease but after his departure Australia's medium pacers, highlighted by Andrew Tye in his first match of the tour, bowled superbly at the death to rein back the West Indies line-up and give themselves a chance at a consolation win. Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh put Australia well ahead of the required run rate in the Powerplay portion of the reply. But a trio of sensational fielding efforts, first by Russell off his own bowling in the fifth and then by Fabian Allen and stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran in the space of three balls in the 10th, sucked the air out of the Australia chase at a pivotal stage from which they never recovered. Lewis fireworks After a blazing 31 off 14-ball cameo in his previous knock two days earlier, Lewis stayed a bit longer at the crease on this occasion and enacted double the damage. His first victim of the night was Jason Behrendorff. After ending the first over by flicking the left-armer over square leg for six, Lewis seized on a free hit in the third to belt a full toss for another six over midwicket before ending the over with another over backward square. A switch of ends made little difference for Behrendorff in the sixth as Lewis clattered him for another pair of boundaries and sixes. The start of a four, six, six sequence in the eighth over against Tye helped Lewis to his ninth T20I half-century. At one stage, David Miller's fastest T20I century off just 35 balls looked in peril when Lewis heaved Mitchell Swepson for back-to-back sixes over the leg side in the ninth to move to 75 off 28 balls. But the left-hander finally ran out of steam collecting four singles in the next two overs before holing out to Marsh at the end of the 11th. West Indies Tye'd down at the death by slower balls With five overs remaining, West Indies were still sitting pretty at 169 for 4. But Tye's wide array of knuckleballs and other off-speed deliveries kept the West Indies middle-order in check as they could only add 30 off the final 30 balls of the innings. Tye bowled three of the final five overs in the sequence and conceded 19 runs while claiming three wickets, not to mention two other dropped chances he created. He began his haul removing the dangerous Russell for 1, picking out Alex Carey at deep cover in the 16th. Two overs later, Pooran pulled to Carey again this time fielding at deep midwicket for the left-hander. His final wicket on the night was a sliced skier by Darren Bravo to Finch at short third man. The only boundary he conceded in the three death overs came off the final ball of the innings when Hayden Walsh Jr drove him over the rope at wide long-off, but that did little to spoil the marvelous work he did to keep West Indies a hair under 200. Fielding magic In spite of the early loss of Josh Philippe to end the first over, Australia were humming in the Powerplay behind another brisk knock from Marsh at No. 3, who motored to 30 off 14 balls as Australia ended the fourth over at 46 for 1. Russell arrived in the fifth and struck first ball with a brilliant reaction catch as a half-volley was smoked straight back to the allrounder, who pocketed a hip height catch in his follow-through. But Russell's catch was child's play compared to what occurred in the 10th over. Player of the Series Walsh Jr claimed his series best 12th wicket off the second ball of the over, but it was Allen who made the moment possible through sheer effort and athleticism. A knee high full toss was slapped flat down the ground by Finch, but Allen reprised some of the boundary catching heroics from years gone by in the CPL, that put him on the map early in his career, by sprinting to his left at long-on before flinging his body to claim a stunner laid out full extension with his left hand. Two balls later, new batter Carey tried to tap and run into short midwicket to get a well set Moises Henriques back on strike. But Pooran continued his side's merciless display in the field by hustling out from behind the stumps, picking up the ball and firing back into the striker's end stumps from short range with Henriques still inches short of making his ground to be out for 21. From 95 for 2, Australia were suddenly 100 for 4. Despite being ahead of the required run rate, their thin middle-order depth meant the target became increasingly distant. Russell helped cement the win by dismissing Carey and Matthew Wade in consecutive overs. With 63 off 27 required for the tail, some late hitting made the final margin seem more flattering to the visitors than it was as the hosts completed yet another convincing win.
  24. The tournament will be played entirely in a double-header format, with two triple-headers before the semi-finals The Trinbago Knight Riders are the defending champions The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be held between August 26 and September 15, with all 33 games to be played at Warner Park in St Kitts and Nevis, Cricket West Indies (CWI) has confirmed. Last month, ESPNcricinfo had reported that CWI and the BCCI had reached an agreement for these dates following discussions about a potential clash with the second half of the IPL in September, and the consequent unavailability of West Indies' players in the IPL, as well as staff and franchise owners who are involved in both tournaments. The CPL was originally scheduled to start on August 28, and end on September 19, but that changed after the BCCI began talks with CWI and the CPL, immediately after it identified the September-October window for wrapping up the remainder of the postponed 2021 IPL. The tournament will now be played entirely in a double-header format, and begins with a 10am EST game between Guyana Amazon Warriors and defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders, followed by a 7pm game between Barbados Tridents and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. There will be breaks on August 30, September 3, 6 and 10, before the league stage finishes with triple-headers on September 11 and 12. The semi-finals and final will take place on September 14 and 15 respectively. All the games will be played in just under three weeks. The challenge for both CWI and the CPL is that there aren't many free days in a packed home season. West Indies are currently playing a white-ball series comprising five T20Is and three ODIs against Australia, which will end on July 24. Three days later, the Pakistan tour kicks off with a five-match T20I series followed by two Tests, scheduled to end on August 24.
  25. Mitchell Marsh's all-round brilliance and Mitchell Starc's final over earn Australia first win Fabian Allen threatened to win the match with four late sixes but Starc kept Andre Russell quiet Mitchell Marsh starred with bat and ball A career-best night with both bat and ball from Mitchell Marsh ensured Australia got off the mark in the series as Mitchell Starc stymied Andre Russell at the death to clinch a four-run victory over West Indies. After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Marsh propelled Australia to 189 for 6 with 75 off 44 balls, his third half-century in four innings this series. Defending the total, Marsh followed it up with 3 for 24 including a prized trio of scalps - Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons and stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran - to stunt momentum in the West Indies chase. Needing 11 off the final over and with Russell on strike, after Riley Meredith had been taken for four sixes by Fabian Allen in the 19th, Starc came around the stumps and bowled four leg stump yorkers that Russell could not get under to elevate and - with only the tail left in at the non-striker's end - resulted in turned down singles on each occasion. On the fifth ball, Russell flubbed a knee-high full toss well short of the rope at deep midwicket before a boundary on the final ball made a cosmetic adjustment to the final margin. It also meant Pooran's perfect record as captain to start the series was no more. Marsh continues hot batting form One of the few bright lights in this series for the visitors, Marsh has continued to impress in his audition for the No. 3 role ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year. Entering in the second over after the fall of Matthew Wade, Marsh lit up the scoreboard with a Vine-esque loop of inside out lofted drives over extra cover. He brought up his third half-century of the series off just 24 balls with another such shot for six off Allen in the ninth over. Having dominated the early stages of his century partnership with Aaron Finch, who had been missed on 2 when an edge went between keeper and slip, rain disrupted Marsh's momentum when the players were taken off the field shortly after Marsh's half-century at the end of the ninth over. When play resumed, Finch seized control of the stand to clatter five boundaries in the space of nine balls across the 10th and 11th overs to bring up his own 34-ball half-century, ending a run of bad form in the first three matches of the series. Hayden Walsh Jr sparks fightback with the ball By the time the innings finished, the Hayden Walsh Jr's series-leading wicket tally stood at 11 after adding another three to bring them back into the game. He dismissed Finch with a googly to break the Marsh partnership at 114 after the Australia captain missed a heave across the line. Walsh Jr put himself on a hat-trick when he took a straightforward return catch next ball after Alex Carey played through too early on a leg stump half-volley to produce a leading edge back to the bowler. He rounded off his haul a few overs later with perhaps his best work of the night. Finding some turn with the legbreak, Ashton Turner overstretched prodding forward and Pooran made up for a sloppy fumble on a straightforward stumping two nights earlier to complete a sharp dismissal on this occasion. Marsh's bowling best thwarts West Indies victory charge Simmons got the chase off to a fiery reply alongside Evin Lewis as the pair added 62 off the first 28 balls. Simmons got momentum moving in the second over off Meredith with a six and two fours through the leg side before Lewis had yet to face a ball. Lewis joined the party in the fourth over against Dan Christian by thumping two fours followed by two sixes over mid-on and backward square. After Lewis fell to an ambitious shot backing away to Adam Zampa in the fifth, Simmons continued his supreme touch, shuffling across his stumps to flick a pair of boundaries over fine leg off the medium pace of Meredith in the seventh over. A single to start the eighth brought up a 28-ball half-century before Marsh struck for the first time, inducing a catch from Gayle to long-on. Simmons was still humming but Andre Fletcher and Pooran stuttered after arriving in the middle overs. After Zampa bowled Fletcher in the 11th, Marsh returned for a double-strike in a magnificent 16th over in which he conceded just one run. He removed Pooran for 16, caught skying to long-off, before Simmons pulled the next ball flat to Moises Henriques for a sterling catch sliding along the rope at deep midwicket for 72. Marsh's work with bat and ball on the night looked like it might go to waste at the end of the 19th when Allen smoked four sixes off the penultimate over bowled by Meredith. But Meredith struck back on the final ball getting Allen to edge a wide delivery behind leaving 11 for Russell to get off Starc in the last. In the end, vintage yorker accuracy from Starc allowed the visitors to prevail.
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