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CPL 2021 | Salute Cottrell says St Kitts after last- ball thriller against Tridents

There are some matches that remain etched to the memory of the audiences for the rest of their lives. They are not necessarily the finals or part of the big fanfare but are ordinary matches with some extraordinary finish. The 14th match of the Caribbean Premier League 2021 was one such match for all the small number of fans that were gathered at Basseterre, St Kitts. 

Fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell or the Seargent as he is known for his impeccable ‘Salute’ celebrations after picking up wickets, won the game for his team St Kitts and Nevis Patriots against Barbados Royals by hitting a six off the very last ball, when four runs were required for victory. It was a victory that the scoreboards might not be able to reflect in totality. 

When skipper Dwayne Bravo, the last recognised Patriots batter was out with 34 still needed off 15 balls to win, all hopes were done and dusted for the chasing team as well as its fans in the stadium. However, number eight and nine batters for the Patriots, Dominic Drakes and Cottrell, had something else in their minds. While Drakes hit a four and took a single of the Nyeem Young over to take the Patriots total close to the target. But the real game turner was Cottrell. 

In the 19th over and against the top Royals bowler and their skipper Jason Holder, Cottrell hit a six and a four and his heroics were well complemented by Drakes, who hit a four off the last ball of the over to garner 18 runs from it, cutting down the target to just 10 off the last six balls. Even as fast bowlers Oshane Thomas and Raymon Reifer had an over each up their sleeves, Holder turned to Ashley Nurse to defend the nine runs. 

The move nearly came off as the off-spinner gave away just five runs of the first four balls and also got the all-important wicket of Drakes. Naseem Shah the new batter was able to get single off the fifth ball and bring Cottrell on strike for the last ball with four runs needed for a win. 

On the last ball, Nurse did what he shouldn’t have, pitched it full on the off stumps and into the hitting zone of Cottrell who gave it a mighty heave as the ball went sailing over long-off for six as the entire dug out of the Patriots came running to the ground as if they had won the league title itself. The crowd had already gone dancing into the night even as the ball was in the air as six was written all over it. 

The Patriots for the first time failed to make it big with the bat as all its top players except Universe Boss Chris Gayle went cheaply. Gayle scored a 39 ball 42. Other than him, Devon Thomas, Drakes and Cottrell were the only ones to get into double figures. While Drakes made a 15 ball 28, Cottrell remained unbeaten on 20 off seven balls. 

Young was the most successful Royals, bowler, with figures of 3-26 while Englishman Jake Lintott, playing his first game of the league managed to scalp two important wickets of Gayle and the league’s highest run-scorer Sherfane Rutherford. 

Earlier in the day, former India U-19 player Smit Patel, who migrated to the United States for greener pastures got his first game in the CPL. Playing at number three for the Barbados side, he scored a calculated fifty off 45 balls but couldn’t convert it into a big score, getting out on 54 off a Bravo delivery. 

Courtesy of Smit’s fifty the Royals were able to reach 160 in their allotted 20 overs. 

With four losses from five games, the Royals now have their task cut out when they face their next challenge in the form of Guyana Amazon Warriors on a triple header day on Sunday 05 September. Patriots on the other hand have almost sealed their place in the Semi-Finals with five wins from five games. They next face St Lucia kings who too are high on confidence having beaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in their previous encounter. 

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ENG vs IND | 4th Test, Day 1: Shardul, Umesh, Bumrah check hosts' juggernaut on 13-wicket day

The sequence of events on the first day of the fourth Test at the Oval appeared similar to that of the last game at Headingley as Indian batsmen once again struggled to combat the swing and seam of the England bowlers. However, there was little difference in the script as Shardul Thakur launched a massive counterattack against England and then Jasprit Bumrah snared both English openers cheaply to bring India in the game. To further help India at the fag end of the day, Umesh Yadav castled Joe Root with possibly the ball of the game considering the worth of the wicket and the man who went back to the pavilion, to end the day on an even note and the game nicely poised. Change in order, no change in disorder India pulled off a massive surprise when Ravindra Jadeja walked to bat in place of Ajinkya Rahane when Cheteshwar Pujara was undone by another piece of James Anderson’s brilliance. Commentators argued that maybe Rahane was not ready to bat due to some circumstances and hence Jadeja went out to bat but the argument does not sounds logical on the face of it. India may well have changed the batting order to break the continuation of right-handers in the top and upper-middle order and left-handers in the lower order where Jadeja and Rishabh Pant bat at consecutive positions. Jadeja has shown good improvement with the bat in the recent past but the promotion looked too much for his ability and the England bowlers were all over him with variation in swing and seam. However, he found his feet to hit some boundaries before Chris Woakes found his length and got him edging to Joe Root at first slip. Rahane came into the fourth Test under enormous pressure and was batting with immaculate precision around off stump. He was not eager to put bat to the ball early on his innings and waited for half volleys to get onto driving. However, he was defeated in the game of patience by Craig Overton and his bad habit of poking at the ball bowled around the fifth stump channel led to his downfall one more time. Pujara too was guilty of falling prey to Anderson’s wide of the crease tactic. He got a brilliant delivery from Anderson, but his handling of the pacer has also left a lot to be desired so far in the series. He looked good and confident at Headingley in the second innings and like his other partner Rahane, could not make good form count with another substantial score to help India take an advantageous position. Robinson’s control, Woakes’ variety James Anderson did not start well with the new ball and the Indian openers were up and running with boundaries in the first six overs. Root took Anderson off the attack and employed Woakes, who was returning to the longest format after a hell of a long time in the attack and he was on the money from the one go. He teased Rohit with full, swinging deliveries and the right-hander, unlearning everything that has been working well for him went for a booming drive through the cover. However, his demise was created by a back of length delivery and seamed away with a bit of extra bounce and Woakes’s precision in using all the pitch could offer was on display very early on. At the same time, Robinson was giving nothing away and picked up the huge wicket of Virat Kohli in the afternoon session to put India on the backfoot. Woakes has been an improved bowler and his ability to preempt batsmen tactic was also on display in the last session. He knew Pant was not trusting his defence to not try a big shot and he timed his brain perfectly to deliver a slower ball when the wicketkeeper jumped down the track to hit him over the top. He later came back with discipline in the face of a bullish onslaught by Shardul Thakur to stop him from running away with the game. Shardul’s grabs opportunity with fire Right after his remarkable all-round performance at the Gabba where his both batting and bowling performances had paved the way for India’s series win, Shardul Thakur’s stocks has only gone up in the Indian camp. He was preferred over Ravichandran Ashwin in the first Test at Trent Bridge that raised many eyebrows and his bowling provided Virat Kohli with a perfect “template” to carry on with even in his absence in the next two games. He was brought back in place of Ishant Sharma to aid the trio of pace bowlers and provided some batting depth to an out of form batting lineup. His primary role was to provide control with the ball but when the team was in trouble on the first day, he provided the team with an opportunity to set aggressive fields. He was brutal against balls pitched in his half or completely away from the batting crease. Some of his shots that carried over the fence would have made real T20 stars proud and his 31-ball 53 helped India closer to the 200-run mark which once appeared to be far beyond their reach. Looking forward to the third day After openers fell cheaply, Root once again threatened to take the game away from India’s grasp with a flurry of boundaries. Indian bowlers also did not help their cause until Umesh Yadav produced a jaffa that jagged back massively to sneak in between his pads and the bat to hit the stumps. With Root gone, England too don’t have a lot of batsmen in form and three of the four top-scorers from the last game are back in the pavilion. India would be hoping for a couple of early wickets to start the second day. The next batsman Ollie Pope will be under pressure after returning only in the absence of Jos Buttler while Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali have not been at their menacing best with the bat. The first session tomorrow will set the tone and up to a certain extent will dictate which side will have an upper hand in the game and the series with levelled at 1-1.


ICC cancels East-Asia Pacific qualifiers tournament due to Covid-19 related restrictions

The East-Asia Pacific qualifiers tournament that would have paved the way for the teams to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2022 and Women’s World Cup in 2023, the ICC said in a statement. The tournament was scheduled to take place in Japan among the hosts, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea and Vanuatu. The Philippines will earn an automatic qualification based on their rankings among their competitors while the contenders for other spots will be decided later on in November this year, the ICC added. ICC’s head of events said that due to the effective regulations and Covid-19 regulations being put in place in Japan, the global governing body of the game had no option but to cancel the event. "We have unfortunately had to cancel the EAP Qualifiers to the Men's and Women's T20 World Cups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the current travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for travelling countries meant the only course of action was to cancel. We would like to thank all participating Members for their patience and support in coming to this decision,” Chris Tetley, ICC's head of events, said. "In accordance with the decision taken by the ICC Board in November 2020 in relation to cancelled qualifying events the Philippines will now qualify for the next stage of the Men's pathway. For the women's, the team that will advance to the global qualifier based on the rankings will be determined at the end of November 2021." A lot of cricketing events of the ICC have been marred by the Covid-19 pandemic and the East-Asia Pacific qualifiers tournament is the latest addition to the list of events.


CPL 2021 | SNP vs BR: Patriots eye five consecutive wins as they face battered Barbados

When St Kitts and Nevis Patriots take the field against Barbados Royals on September 03rd (IST), they would be eying their fifth victory in the row and also a way to confirm their place in the Semi-Finals as 10 points will surely take them there. To get there, they have to get past the Barbados Royals who haven’t been in a good form themselves, losing three of the four games that they have played. For the Patriots, Sherfane Rutherford has been in great form with the bat while with the ball in hand, Dominic Drakes has done some great things. He has so far had seven wickets in his kitty and has gone wicketless in only one game. Skipper Dwayne Bravo has been able to do the talking with the ball as well, picking up three wickets in the last match. For the Royals, in the one game that they won, all-rounder Raymon Reifer and Kiwi batter Glenn Phillips were at their very best. However, it is the likes of Jason Holder, Thisara Perera and Johnson Charles along with Azam Khan that need to join the party with the bat for the team to make any impact. Whether or not this happens is yet to be seen. Also to be seen is if the Patriots could get five in five and pose a great threat to Trinbago Knight Riders’ title defence. St Kitts and Nevis Patriots vs Barbados Royals Match Number: 14 Date and Time: September 03, 2021, 04:30 am IST, 07:300 pm Local (02nd September), 11:00 pm GMT (02nd September) Venue: Warner Park, Basseterre Broadcast: Star Sports Live Stream: Fancode Pitch Report The pitch has slowed down considerably from the first week of action and it now seems that 160 is a winning total given that the defending team has the right kind of bowlers who could bowl slower one and back of the hand deliveries forcing the batsman to apply his strength and into the wind, it is really becoming hard to clear the boundary lines. Weather Forecast The weather at Warner Park will remain hot and humid with humidity decreasing to 78% from touching 80 in the last week. The temperatures would remain below 30 with the moderate breeze blowing. Since it is an evening game, a captain winning the toss would look to bowl first. Probable XI St Kitts and Nevis Patriots Devon Thomas (wk), Evin Lewis, Asif Ali, Sherfane Rutherford, Ravi Bopara, Dwayne Bravo (c), Fabian Allen, Dominic Drakes, Sheldon Cottrell, Paul van Meekeren, Fawad Ahmed Barbados Royals Johnson Charles, Shai Hope (wk), Kyle Mayers, Glenn Phillips, Jason Holder (c), Azam Khan, Raymon Reifer, Oshane Thomas, Mohammad Amir, Joshua Bishop, Hayden Walsh Jr Dream XI Team Wicketkeepers Azam Khan Batters Evin Lewis, Glenn Phillips, Sherfane Rutherford All-rounders Dwayne Bravo, Raymon Reifer, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen Bowlers Dominic Drakes, Mohammad Amir, Paul van Meekeren Vice-Captain Azam Khan Captain Sherfane Rutherford