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Recent Match Report – Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors, Caribbean Premier League, Final



Barbados Tridents 171 for 6 (Carter 50, Charles 39, Tahir 1-24) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 144 for 9 (King 43, Reifer 4-24, Nurse 2-17, Gurney 2-24) by 27 runs

When the New England Patriots defeated the New York Giants 38-35 to end the 2007 regular season, they became the first NFL team to go undefeated since the league expanded to a 16-game format. But the game exposed vulnerabilities that gave the Giants a blueprint to beat the Patriots in their rematch in Super Bowl XLII 17-14.

On Sunday, Guyana Amazon Warriors defeated Barbados Tridents to take their CPL record unbeaten streak to 11 matches by posting a Providence Stadium record total of 218 for 3 behind Brandon King’s record century. What was lost in the shuffle of that match was that the Tridents actually made a serious fist of the chase, ending on 188 with Jonathan Carter top-scoring to make 49 off 26, as some vulnerabilities started to appear.

Bucking the T20 trend of teams opting to chase, the Tridents success through much of CPL 2019 has been in defending totals. Given a chance to bat first in the CPL Final at Brian Lara Academy, Carter produced a stirring roundhouse kidney punch that stopped the Warriors dead in their tracks. Unable to dance around the ring, the Warriors chase was floored by a collective effort from Jason Holder’s bowling unit as the Tridents produced a stunning upset to claim their second CPL title, and first since 2014, by knocking off the Warriors to thwart their undefeated title bid.

Running amok

Having to go without their second leading scorer JP Duminy, who sat out with a hamstring injury picked up in Thursday’s win over Trinbago Knight Riders, Tridents got off to a solid start in the first 10 overs to reach 76 for 3. But after Shai Hope fell in the 12th over, the chase went haywire with Shakib Al Hasan involved in a pair of runouts.

The first came four balls after Hope’s wicket as Holder flicked to deep midwicket. Shakib hared down three strides ahead of Holder for the first run and was already a quarter of the way back for a second before Holder had turned at the non-striker’s end. Keemo Paul had covered the ground well to field and relay to Nicholas Pooran over the striker’s stumps as Holder came back reluctantly in response to Shakib and wound up being out by a foot.

Shakib created an identical situation with Carter two overs later after Carter drove out to extra cover. Once again, Shakib was three steps ahead and started coming back for a second run, but Carter was slow getting out of the crease after striking the ball and wasn’t interested in the second, but made his decision too late for Shakib as Paul relayed once again to Pooran. This time his throw dragged Pooran well away from the stumps but Shakib had given up and Pooran’s throw from 5 yards away was true, leaving the score 109 for 6 with 31 balls left.

Upset the Apple Cart(er)

Against the Knight Riders on Thursday, Ashley Nurse and Raymon Reifer plundered 43 off the last two overs to salvage a floundering innings and get up past 160 on a traditionally low-scoring ground. On this occasion, it was Nurse and Carter who resurrected the Tridents in the waning overs.

Carter took the lead with a trio of fabulous straight drives for six before and another over midwicket. The bulk of that came in the 19th over off Keemo Paul, who leaked 17 in the frame as momentum swung sharply toward Tridents. Nurse then took his swipes at Romario Shepherd in the 20th with a six and four to start the final over before Carter struck a two to bring up a 26-ball half-century as Tridents ended with 63 off the last 31 balls to post a total that looked like it was well above par based on the evidence of Thursday night.

USA 3, rest of CPL 2

Coming into the final, Shoaib Malik had only been dismissed four times in 11 innings. Two of those came at the hands of Knight Riders fast bowler Ali Khan and Tridents legspinner Hayden Walsh Jr., the only two Americans playing in the tournament. Walsh Jr. added Shoaib for a second time on Saturday night to cap his season with a tournament best 22 wickets in just nine matches.

After Raymon Reifer had set back the Warriors in the Powerplay with the wickets of Chandrapaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmyer, Shoaib came to the middle but was not his usual fluent self. After reaching 4 off 10 balls, he got a half-tracker from Walsh Jr. that should have gone for six but failed to get the elevation, a microcosm of his lack of rhythm on the night as he picked out Reifer at deep midwicket. It put Walsh Jr. on the path to ensure an American would raise the CPL trophy for the second year in a row after Khan with TKR in 2018.

King Dethroned

The Warriors were still in with a chance of overhauling the target as long as the tournament’s leading scorer was at the crease. Brandon King was looking sharp but struggled for support at the other end, causing him to lose patience. On the last ball of the 11th over, King charged impetuously at Nurse and turned a full ball into a yorker, playing over the top as it slid past leg stump for a simple stumping by Hope.

Another half-tracker claimed another big scalp for the second time in the chase as Pooran toe-slapped a long hop from Nurse to Alex Hales at long-on. Harry Gurney and Reifer then continued to whittle through the middle order until 41 were required off 12 balls. Paul holed out to long-on off Gurney in the 19th and with 33 needed off the last over, Reifer mathematically clinched it by having Chris Green slashing an edge behind, giving him the best bowling figures ever in a CPL Final.

With their backs against the wall playing a de facto elimination match in the penultimate game of the regular season against St. Lucia Zouks, Tridents stormed back to life and in the end, snuffed out the Warriors fairy-tale season with a Cinderella finish of their own.

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ECB announces record turnover as it prepares for Covid-19 financial hit



The ECB has announced “bittersweet” financial results for 2019-20, reporting a record turnover of £228 million while bracing for the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on cricket in England and Wales.

In its strategic report, the ECB attributed the increase in turnover to the staging of last year’s World Cup, and the additional broadcast revenue from the men’s and women’s Ashes series. The ECB reported profits of £6.5 million for the financial year, up from the projected figure of £800,000, and cash reserves were recorded as £17.1m, up from £11.2m.

The appointment of Ian Watmore as Colin Graves’ successor as chair was also ratified at Tuesday’s virtual AGM, with the ECB’s 41 members voting unanimously in his favour. Watmore’s appointment came under scrutiny following a series of reports in the Daily Mail regarding his previous role at the English Football League, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing following a conduct review.

The financial report suggested that in the worst-case scenario in which no cricket was possible this summer, the ECB’s revenues would take a £252m hit across matchday revenues, broadcast and sponsorship income, with a net loss of around £154m accounting for the reduction in costs. Last month, CEO Tom Harrison told a government select committee that the total hit across the whole game – rather than just the ECB – could be as high as £380m.

“Communicable disease” has been added to the list of examples of “loss of cricket due to events outside cricket’s control” in the major risks identified, alongside terror threats and periods of national mourning, though the ECB confirmed on Tuesday that its insurance policy allows it to claim for all lost tickets revenues from advance purchases for this summer.

“With the impact of Covid-19 these results are somewhat bittersweet, but it is nonetheless extremely positive to know that with the right conditions, the game can continue to grow financial momentum for its stakeholders,” Scott Smith, the ECB’s chief financial officer, said.

The ECB’s total headcount has also increased from 342 to 379, and administrative expenditure grew by £22m on account of “special fee distributions” of £1m made to each first-class county relating to last summer’s World Cup.

Remuneration for the highest-paid director – understood to be Harrison – fell from £719,175 last year to £580,459. Harrison took a 25% pay cut for the three months from April as part of the ECB’s first round of internal measures to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

As well as the ratification of Watmore’s appointment, the virtual AGM also saw confirmation that Lord Kamlesh Patel will step down as the board’s senior independent director after five years in the role. The ECB said in a press release that a replacement would be identified in the coming months.

“I have made clear from the start of this process how important the cricket network is to our sport thriving across England and Wales,” Watmore said.

“In a post-Covid-19 world, it is more important than ever before that we see sport connect communities and improve lives. That goal is only achievable with the support of the entire game and I look forward to working with the membership and other key stakeholders in delivering our ambitions.”

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Ben Stokes would make a ‘fantastic’ Test captain, says Joe Root | Cricket





England would want to play for captain Stokes – Root

Ben Stokes would make a “fantastic” Test captain if he was required to step up to lead the side during the forthcoming series against West Indies, according to the man he would replace, Joe Root, who says he will attend the birth of his second child in July, even if it means stepping out of England’s bio-secure “bubble”.

Although Root admitted that the exact protocols for the birth would be determined by the latest government advice, the likelihood is that he would be required to miss at least one, and maybe two Tests of England’s condensed schedule, given that all three West Indies Tests are set to take place in a three-week block between July 8 and July 28 at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

And if that was the case, then Stokes, who was last year reinstalled as Root’s official vice-captain, would be the frontrunner to lead the side in his absence – quite the turnaround for a player who had been left fearing for his future following the events in Bristol in September 2017, the last occasion that West Indies visited for a bilateral tour.

“I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic,” said Root. “One of his great qualities as vice-captain, and as a leader, is he sets the example. The way he goes about his training, how he wants to bowl in difficult circumstances, the way he stands up in different scenarios with the bat … he drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him.

“I think that’s a great quality to have as a leader and something he can take into captaincy if he was to get the opportunity. I could see him doing a very good job.”

England have had a mixed record with allrounders at the helm. Ian Botham was famously sacked midway through the 1981 Ashes after 12 winless matches, while Andrew Flintoff’s initial success as Michael Vaughan’s stand-in on the 2006 tour of India gave way to ignominy the following winter when England’s hold on the Ashes was ended in a 5-0 whitewash.

The general consensus with both of those players was that the responsibility of the England captaincy eroded the spontaneity of their best performances. However, while Root agreed that Stokes would rise to the occasion in a one-off capacity, he was also happy to talk up his credentials as a potential long-term successor.

“I think those qualities will serve him well,” Root said. “People will always look up to him and want to play for him, whether [he’s] captain or not. But especially as captain, he’ll have people wanting to play for him and, short-term, he’d be a huge success.

ALSO READ CWI backs England tour ‘in principle’ as government gives green light

“Until you get the opportunity to do it longer, you just never know, it might be a huge success … I wouldn’t put it past him. Throughout his career he’s always responded well and Test captaincy is more than just a bit of added responsibility.

“Over time it does take a lot out of you, but he’s a very impressive player and man in our dressing room. I’d never say Ben Stokes can’t do anything, he’s pretty much proved that.”

After 39 Tests as captain, however, Root insisted he was not yet ready to contemplate the end of his three-year tenure, adding that the enforced break from action had been a welcome opportunity to take stock of a career that – had it not been for the postponement of the recent tour of Sri Lanka – would have been closing in on 100 Tests and 8000 runs this summer.

“I’ve enjoyed it and benefited from it, having a bit of time to think about the game as a batter and as a captain,” Root said. “Take a bit of stock [about] the best way to take the team forward and how I will get the best out of myself for the next couple of years. I could see that having a big impact on my longevity.

“Hopefully that has a positive impact on both sides of my cricket, and we can start seeing a few more converted scores and England winning plenty of games.”

Root’s official return to training began on Monday at Trent Bridge, rather than his county home of Headingley, a decision he said had been made for the sake of his daily commute, as well as for the opportunity to be reunited with his former England coach, Peter Moores, with whom he underwent a one-on-one session.

“I obviously spent a good couple of years working with Pete on my batting and you could argue that some of my best years batting-wise were whilst he was in charge,” said Root, who made four unbeaten hundreds in ten Tests under Moores in 2014-15, including a best of 200 not out against Sri Lanka at Lord’s.

“It has been nice to touch base with him again,” he said. “There wasn’t much coaching done yesterday. It was more about getting back into it, hitting some balls, and feeling good. It would be nice to get his input on things as the week progresses, leading into the next phase.

“To start with everything seems a million miles an hour,” Root added. “Slowly, as a few hours went on, it seemed to come back to me. By the end of it I felt really good. It was really nice to enjoy batting again. I think a lot of players will have found positives from having a period of time away from cricket, and feel really refreshed and energised coming back into it.

“For me, having played almost consistently for such a long period of time and some quite high-pressured cricket in the last couple of years in particular, to get a chance to get away, I definitely feel that will benefit me moving forward into this next phase.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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CPL submits proposal to stage tournament in Trinidad



The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers have submitted a proposal to Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, to stage the entirety of this year’s tournament in the country, starting in mid-August.

Last week, Rowley told the local press that he was waiting for a formal approach from the CPL, but said his government was “cautiously optimistic” about hosting the tournament, subject to clearance from the country’s health authorities.

As part of the proposal, the CPL has said it would want to host the entire tournament, comprising 34 matches, at Trinidad’s two main grounds, the Queen’s Park Oval and the Brian Lara Academy. Games might be played back-to-back on the same day at 10am and 6pm local time, meaning the tournament would be played over 25 days rather than last year’s 39.

ALSO READ: CPL is the second-best T20 league after IPL – COO Pete Russell

Tournament officials hope that overseas players will be willing to participate, with the first round of international signings due to be announced next week, and remain optimistic that some fans will be able to attend games while adhering to social-distancing protocols.

Pete Russell, CPL’s chief operating officer, has said that officials will hold a virtual meeting with cabinet ministers on Thursday, June 4, in order to talk through details such as possible quarantine periods upon arrival in Trinidad, health protocols, and any assurances that need to be given.

“We’re ready to play,” Russell told ESPNcricinfo. “If you get the second wave that everyone hopes won’t come, we’d be back to square one, but the only other thing that will derail us is the government not allowing us to play for safety reasons. It’s just a case of getting the green light from them.”

The cricketing part of the Caribbean has avoided the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with death tolls remaining low after governments imposed strict lockdowns before the virus could spread. The region’s relative success in managing the pandemic has raised hopes that the CPL might be able to proceed, and the tournament has appointed a medical board of four doctors who are putting health protocols in place. The Caribbean has already hosted competitive cricket in the form of the Vincy T10 Premier League at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex, where there were sanitising stations on and off the field.

ALSO READ: Leg shakes and sanitising stations – cricket gets used to the new normal

Under current plans, all six CPL teams would stay in the same hotel in Trinidad, with each team being cordoned off and treated as a single household. Within that household of around 25, teams would be broken down into ‘clusters’ of four or five, within which social distancing could be relaxed. Players and support staff would also be subject to daily temperature checks, as well as viral and antibody tests both in the days before they would fly to Trinidad and on arrival.

While organisers had initially discussed the possibility of hosting games at Kensington Oval in Barbados, Trinidad is currently “Plan A” on account of the fact it has two international-standard grounds, which would reduce the prospect of pitches becoming worn and slow by the end of the tournament. Playing games in the morning will also be an attractive commercial proposition: the CPL’s business model relies heavily on India for broadcast revenue and sponsorship, and a 10am start time in Trinidad (7.30pm IST) would suit that market. The second game would be played at some point in the evening, with 6pm the provisional local start time.

However, the government approval remains the main stumbling block. “We don’t have a proper handle yet but we are cautiously optimistic if the CPL authorities would like to host the tournament in Trinidad,” Rowley had said last week.

Rowley said that once the proposal was submitted, the country’s chief medical’s officer would need to give his approval, with public safety the top priority. “We have to be careful… but we want to look at [staging the CPL] positively and we will,” he said.

Russell admitted that the tournament will make a financial loss this year, but said that all six franchises had confirmed they wanted to take part after being given the option not to. “They want continuity, and they want their teams to be represented,” he said. “Our thought was that if we had the option to play, we should; it’s good for the Caribbean.

“The Caribbean relies on tourism, that’s its bread and butter. So it needs to show the rest of the world that it’s open, and beaming live cricket around the world is a very good way of doing that.”

While plans to allow fans into grounds remain at an early stage, the tournament’s organisers have developed various contingency plans for behind-closed-doors cricket. These include the possibility of having socially-distanced cheerleaders, LED screens with videos of fans, and playing stadium sounds on the global TV feeds even if no fans are physically present.

With Cricket West Indies announcing last week that players across the region would be asked to take a temporary 50% pay cut, Russell said that the CPL felt a “sense of responsibility” to get players earning again following the lockdown.

“These guys’ livelihoods have been decimated through no fault of their own,” he said. “CPL isn’t just about the guys who have their IPL riches, but it’s about the journeymen, and the up-and-coming players who want to make a name for themselves. It’s very important for the whole cricketing ecosystem in the Caribbean that we get it on and these guys can earn money.”

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