The Caribbeans take their T20 cricket seriously.
It is part of their meal. And when they unite as the West Indies, they end up winning World Cups for fun. The availability of superstars Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell augurs well for the two-time champion as we count days to the T20 World Cup in October.
The West Indies’ come-from-behind act in the fourth T20I against South Africa at home, led by Bravo’s four-for, stamped its self-belief. The senior pro recorded his career-best figures (4/19) — an effort that levelled the series 2-2 with a game to spare.
Though South Africa had the last laugh, clinching the tournament 3-2, the intent of the West Indies players will hold them in good stead in the future assignments.
Bravo, who made his T20I debut in 2006, still has the deadliest of the slowers. Change of pace is one the best tools to outwit batsmen in the shortest form, and the Trinidadian is a master at that. Chasing 168, South Africa lost the in-form Quinton de Kock (60 off 43), George Linde (6 off 6) and eventually tail-enders Tabraiz Shamsi (0) and Lungi Ngidi (0) to Bravo’s trickery.
Bravo found solid support in Andre Russell. The all-rounder, who had taken a five-for in the Indian Premier League earlier this year, has been quite effective in Windies colours. He returned with figures of 2/30.
Simmons, another player from the late 2000, is back in action. Besides hammering a 34-ball 47 as an opener, he also took three catches.
Simmons’ return was imminent. He piled runs in the Super50 Cup, the domestic one-day competition in the West Indies, to present his case to the selectors.
What makes the West Indies side even more dangerous is that it has T20 globetrotters in its mix. And there are people like Simmons, Gayle and Nicholas Pooran who have swung their willow in T10, coincidentally in the United Arab Emirates — the main venue for the Cup.
No Kane in the Hundred
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has pulled out of The Hundred to manage his elbow injury. He has withdrawn the contract of US$110,000 at Birmingham Phoenix.
The World Test Championship winner has been nursing the injury for the past six months. It has forced him to miss the series against Bangladesh, a few games in the Indian Premier League and then, the second Test against England.
Kane Williamson has been spending quality time with family to celebrate the Test championship win. The humble cricketer rented a car to drive to Somerset to meet his six-month-old daughter. – Getty Images
Auckland cricketer Finn Allen, his compatriot, is his replacement. Williamson, however, is expected to stay on as the mentor of the Edgbaston-based franchise.
Williamson has been spending quality time with family to celebrate the Test championship win. The humble cricketer rented a car to drive to Somerset to meet his six-month-old daughter.
Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had signed up with Phoenix, has pulled out too. The Hundred will clash with Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies.
South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi is set to join Welsh Fire as a replacement for Jhye Richardson.
England had an embarrassing exit from the 2015 ODI World Cup.
The newly appointed captain, Eoin Morgan, didn’t get enough time to gauge his big-match players. Bangladesh knocked it out of the Cup in Adelaide.
Morgan almost turned the tide in the T20 World Cup in 2016 before Carlos Brathwaite smashed four sixes in an over off Ben Stokes to crush his dreams. Finally, England won the 2019 World Cup at Lord’s. Now, captain Morgan will be keen on catching up with former skipper Paul Collingwood in the T20 record books.
England left-arm seamer Sam Curran, also a proven batsman, picked up the player of the series award for five wickets in three games versus Sri Lanka. – Reuters
England’s hunger has been evident in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at home. It whitewashed the islanders and even sealed the ODI series 2-0. The third game in Bristol was called off due to heavy showers.
England’s best takeaway from the series is that it had three match-winners in the first three T20Is. Jos Buttler sizzled with an unbeaten 68 off 55 in Cardiff, Liam Livingstone finished the rain-truncated game at the same venue.
Dawid Malan’s 48-ball 76 in Southampton got the side home. And left-arm seamer Sam Curran, also a proven batsman, picked up the player of the series award for five wickets in three games.
Curran picked up five wickets in the second ODI. David Willey, another left-arm pacer, has escalated his case after picking up seven wickets in the first two ODIs.
Livingstone credited Morgan for creating an environment where every player wants to win. “This is a different role, finishing, but I’ve had it in the back of my mind while playing for Lancashire, to see the team home even after opening, which is ultimately your goal. I don’t see the pressure. I like coming into this environment that Morgs has created to play cricket,” he said.
The International Cricket Council has banned two UAE players, Amir Hayat and Ashfaq Ahmed, for eight years after they were found guilty of trying to fix the T20 World Cup qualifying round matches in association with an Indian bookie.
The ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal had charged both the cricketers back in September 2020. “The bans are backdated to 13 September 2020, when they were provisionally suspended for corrupt conduct in relation to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 in the UAE,” the ICC said in a release.
The cricketers had taken 15,000 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham totalling $4,083 approximately) from an Indian bookie, identified as Mr ‘Y’’ in the ICC charge-sheet.