A heavy loss to England and a washout against winless South Africa have been compounded for the West Indies by Andre Russell's creaky knees.
The West Indies all-rounder could only bowl two overs in the World Cup game against England on Friday and had to leave the field before the home team chased down a victory target of 213 with almost 17 overs to spare.
The West Indies pace battery that bounced out Pakistan for 105 in an opening win and had defending champion Australia reeling at 38-4 and 79-5 in the second game took a battering from injury-hit England, with Joe Root scoring 100 from 94 balls.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder said it has been a difficult week for the explosive all-rounder Russell.
"We have been trying our best to keep him on the park, but it is proving difficult," Holder said. "Yeah, going forward, we have to persist. He is here for a reason."
Russell dropped to the ground at the end of the 11th over, his second, after directing a short-pitch ball at England opener Jonny Bairstow. He left the field and didn't bowl another over.
"We think he can be a match-winner for us," Holder said. "We have just got to cope with him. Got to do everything we possibly can with him to keep him on the park."
West Indies split a series 2-2 in the Caribbean against England earlier in the year to raise expectations and rose in semifinal calculations with the big win over Pakistan and the close loss to five-time champion Australia. Sheldon Cottrell took two early wickets to have South Africa 29-2 when play was washed out here last Monday.
The rain continued all week, limited the time for practice, and the weather conditions certainly favored the home team after England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and sent West Indies into bat on cold, overcast conditions.
Chris Gayle scored a whirlwind 36, fourth-wicket pair Nicholas Pooran (63) and Shimron Hemyer (39) shared an 89-run stand and Russell scored a rapid 21, including a pair of sixes in an over from Adil Rashid after he was dropped in the outfield. But otherwise, the West Indies batsmen struggled, the last four wickets fell for 10 runs, as the England bowlers exploited ideal conditions for seam bowling.
Holder said West Indies did well in the opening 10-over powerplay at 41-1, considering the conditions, but "we lost the game in the middle."
"Every time we got something going, we lost a wicket. We lost wickets at crucial stages," he said. "I thought Pooran played extremely well and he is an example of how we need to play on that pitch."
The sun emerged in time for England's innings, drying the outfield, flattening out the wicket and giving Root a perfect deck to showcase his batting. Recalled paceman Shannon Gabriel took the only two wickets for the West Indies, and appeared to pick up a leg strain in his last over.
"We needed to make early inroads," Holder said. "The way we have been bowling, we have been backing ourselves to get new-ball wickets. It didn't happen for us today, well played England."
With one win, two losses and one point from the washout, West Indies is already in the position of having to win against Bangladesh in Taunton on Monday. Following that, there are back-to-back matches against the unbeaten New Zealand and India.
Holder is confident a pace contingent containing Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Carlos Brathwaite and Shannon Gabriel can bounce back, and the batsmen will start finding some consistency to help West Indies into the top four and a spot in the semifinals.
"It would be very foolish not to be confident," he said. "We have only played four games. A hell of a lot of cricket left to be played.
"We have just got to be disciplined and make sure we come against Bangladesh firstly in our next game and make sure we beat Bangladesh."
Days before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Ali Khan's dream of playing in the cash-lucrative league got fulfilled.
The American pace sensation was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of bowler Harry Gurney.
Ali's surprise selection came after impressing during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, where he plied his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He picked up eight wickets from eight matches with and an economy of 7.43.
Ali has won two of the last three CPL editions and he will be the first player to play in the IPL.
Acording to reports, Ali was also in KKR's radar, last year, after his solid performances in the 2018 Global T20 Canada with the Winnipeg Hawks. He was initially scouted by Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Just before their semi-final game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the TKR squad had gathered for a team dinner when Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.
“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Ali said that he started crying when Brendon made the announcement. He also revealed that the KKR coach gave him a big hug and said: "You deserve it".
Ahead of their opening fixture against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Steve Smith has been declared fit to play, having passed his concussion tests.
Smith has missed three ODIs against England in the UK due to a concussion issue, and there were doubts whether he will be fit to feature in Royals’ season opener.
Andrew McDonald, RR's head coach, confirmed that Smith is available for selection against CSK.
“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn’t be happier with their preparation. We have got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off,” McDonald said in a RR's virtual press release
“We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK. They had a fantastic first game, they’re one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that’s already played and performed. So, we’ll definitely have our work cut out and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents,” he added.
Smith, meanwhile, revealed that he is eager to get back to action, having missed the ODI series against England.
The 31-year-old, Smith, is one of the four main overseas players in the team alongside English trio of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.
Jofra is expected to be in the playing XI while both are Buttler and Stokes will play no part in the game. Buttler is serving a 6-day quarantine period with his family while Stokes has not yet arrived in UAE.
The Indian Premier League 2020 campaign finally went up and running after Delhi Capitals won a thrilling Super over against the KXIP on Sunday.
After being put out to bat first, DC suffered a massive top-order collapse, only for Marcus Stoinis to save the blushes with a match-deciding half-century.
In their reply, KXIP's openers couldn't better their counterparts but Mayank Agarwal's knock of 89 turned the game in their favour. However, the match forced to Super over after KXIP failed to score 12 runs in the final over.
In the super-over, DC's Kagiso Rabada showcased his class and restricted KXIP to a meagre 3-run target. DC achieved the target with four balls to spare.
However, KXIP's Kiwi all-rounder, Jimmy Neesham, couldn't believe that his team lost the Super over and posted a funny reaction on Twitter. Neesham is very famous for his social media banter.
Interestingly, Neesham was part of New Zealand's team which lost the 2019 World Cup final to England, which went all the way through to the Super over.
The BlackCaps haven’t been lucky, especially in Super Overs. They had also lost two back-to-back T20I's against India in the tie-breaker earlier in 2020.
Neesham posted a gif of famous American comedian/actor, Jim Carey, to express his feelings after losing the Super over. “Oh come on!” said Carey in the gif.
In their second match, Punjab will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 24.
Ambati Rayudu was at his ruthless best as Chennai Super Kings outclassed Mumbai Indians on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
He smashed 71 runs off just 48 balls, which proved substantial to guide his team to a famous win over their eternal rivals.
Rayudu knock was heavily appreciated by fans, who flooded the social media with memes targeting former BCCI selector MSK Prasad, who ignored the former during last year's World Cup squad selection.
Former Australian cricketer and Rayudu's current CSK teammate, Shane Watson, believes that Indian selection panel made a big mistake by not picking Rayudu in the World Cup held last year.
“He an incredibly talented batsman and I think so it was a loss for the Indian ODI team for not picking him in the World Cup squad,” Watson said in a YouTube show named The Debrief.
“He batted incredibly well with scoring options all over the ground,” the Aussie veteran added.
Rayudu was expected to take the crucial number 4 spot, but MSK Prasad decided to pick all-rounder Vijay Shankar, describing the latter as a 'three-dimensional player'.
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra posted a cryptic tweet to MSK Prasad, following Rayudu's match-winning knock on Saturday.
"Might not be a 3D player but still fairly efficient at the one dimension he has....top knock Ambati Rayudu," Chopra tweeted.
As the Sunrisers Hyderabad are ready to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third match of the Indian Premier League 2020 in Dubai, fans are curious to know what will be the team combination of the David Warner-led side. SRH have plenty of quality batsmen in their ranks.
While David Warner and Rashid Khan will definitely be seen in action against RCB, the choice becomes difficult when it comes to in-form Jonny Bairstow and experienced player Kane Williamson or Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.
Shedding light of SRH’s best possible team combination, former New Zealand all-rounder, Scott Styris said that the former SRH skipper, Williamson should warm the bench in the upcoming clash against Virat Kohli-led side. Explaining the reason behind his bold statement, the Kiwi great highlighted that Bairstow was in a blistering touch in the 2019 IPL and his opening partnerships with 33-year-old Australian stalwart gave SRH flying starts in several matches.
Afghanistan duo Rashid and Nabi will add more balance to the side
Speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Styris said, “Kane Williamson sits out, I know he is the orange cap holder. But I just think with the balance of that side, they have got a proven match-winner, David Warner. Bairstow’s performance last year and the relationship he has with Warner at the top. They just seem to gel and sink nicely.”
"Nabi is certainly in my eyes and so is Rashid. So, out of that group, unfortunately, Kane Williamson sits out,” the 45-year-old added.
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