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.
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.
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.
Joe Root urges England to apply the brakes after playing Tests ‘in fast forward’
Joe Root has called on England to “be prepared to play some attritional cricket” if they are to enjoy success in New Zealand.
Root, England’s Test captain, feels his side must attempt to bat longer and be both more patient and more relentless if they are to enjoy regular success overseas.
So while he accepts England may have become used to playing Test cricket “in fast forward” at home, where the balls and the surfaces have combined to produce some dramatic matches, he has urged his team not to “fall into the trap” of thinking that method can bring them success elsewhere. England have won only one Test series in New Zealand this century; that came in 2008.
“We have to be prepared to play some attritional cricket at times,” Root said ahead of England’s final warm-up match before the Test series. “We have to try to bat longer. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get a good score on any given wicket. Time has never really been an issue in Test cricket, especially in the modern game where things naturally move quicker than they have in the past. It would be nice to get used to batting for 120 overs more regularly, especially in the first innings.
“And it doesn’t just apply to our batting. It’s with the ball as well. We have to be prepared to go at two an over and build pressure in different ways.
“You can fall into the trap when playing in English conditions, as they’ve been in the last couple of years, and get used to Test cricket being played in fast forward.
“But it’s not like that everywhere you go. So we’ve got to be prepared to adapt. And if that means doing things slightly differently – whether it’s controlling the rate with the ball, or being prepared to score at two an over for 150 overs, if that’s what it takes to make 400 – then we’ve got to be prepared to do that.”
This feels like a significant departure. On the eve of England’s most recent overseas Test series – the defeat against West Indies – Root stated “you don’t win games by batting long periods of time” and as recently as August, England were fielding Jason Roy as one of their opening batsmen.
But England’s selection – particularly the selection of a specialist opener, Dom Sibley, instead of Roy at the top of the order – would appear to match the message. And Root was delighted with both Sibley and Zak Crawley‘s contribution in the first warm-up game, with both men building an innings cautiously before going on to score centuries.
“For two young lads to come in and set the tone for the tour was really pleasing,” Root said. “We set our stall out exactly how we want to template our Test cricket. That first session was obviously going to be the most challenging one for us and I think we only scored at two an over.
“But we were only one down at lunch and, as the game progressed, we knew had guys capable of upping the ante if we need to. I thought the template and the tempo of how we went about it was much more how I want to see us play in future.”
The tempo isn’t the only change, either. Having originally thrust Ollie Pope into Test cricket at No. 4, he will now have an extended opportunity to settle at No. 6. It is where Root started his own Test career and will provide Pope with the best chance to adapt to the demands of Test cricket. In his first spell in the side, he found himself batting earlier in the innings than he had ever experienced when playing for Surrey.
“No. 6 is a great place to bat,” Root said. “You’re always trying to find ways of getting guys in positions in which they will be comfortable. Hopefully he takes the chance. We all know what a good player he is; it’s just a question of doing it on the international stage.”
None of this means England are suddenly about to start playing dull cricket. With a middle order (No. 4 to No. 7) of Root, Ben Stokes, Pope and Jos Buttler they have the potential to accelerate as bowlers tire, the ball softens and the early life of the pitch fades.
But it does mean the top order will be put under less pressure to push on than may have been the case in the past. And that, in turn, means Sibley, who has an unashamedly old-fashioned attitude to batting, can settle into Test cricket without feeling he needs to change his game.
“It was really pleasing to see Sibley and Crawley not waver from how they would go about things in their normal county environment,” Root said. “It’s what you always want but you don’t always see it. It was a really good start from those two lads.”
How great the influence of Chris Silverwood, the new head coach, on all this is hard to gauge. It may well be that Root has learned from previous experiences and concluded that earlier attempts to take the attack to bowling attacks is simply a bit naïve at Test level. Either way, it appears the pair are, as Root puts it, “on the same page”.
“Chris has been around the group for two years so we’ve had a really strong relationship anyway,” Root said. “We’re very much on the same page about how we take this team forward.”
Might it also be relevant that the influence of the other selectors would appear to have diminished a little? Again, it’s hard to be certain. But it is worth noting that the team for the final tour match here – which is expected to mirror the team selected for the first Test – has been selected while neither James Taylor or Ed Smith are in New Zealand. This new captain-coach axis knows what it wants and appears less tolerant towards interference than its predecessor. Even before a ball of the series has been bowled, it feels like progress.
Sam Curran set for England Test recall ahead of Chris Woakes
Sam Curran seems all but certain to play as England’s third seamer in next week’s first Test against New Zealand, after being preferred to Chris Woakes in the England side to play New Zealand A in Whangerai.
With the England management having made clear that the side named here will, fitness permitting, play in the first Test next week, it means Curran can expect an England Test recall at Mount Maunganui, on November 21.
Woakes’ overseas record will have done him few favours. He averages 61.77 in his 12 Tests away from home when using the Kookaburra or SG ball (he averages 23.45 in home Tests using a Duke’s ball) and finished wicketless in the tour match against a New Zealand XI earlier in the week.
Curran’s record is no better – he averages 105.50 with the ball in his four Tests away from home – but he is, aged 21, nine years younger than Woakes and offers some variation from the rest of the attack with his left-arm angle.
While neither man gained much movement with the Kookaburra ball in that first warm-up game, Curran did take one wicket – that of Jakob Bhula – when the batsman misjudged the line; a result, perhaps, of that variation.
It would be premature to write off Woakes, but the decision does raise questions about his future at Test level. England hope to have Mark Wood and James Anderson back by the time they go to South Africa in December, and there are unlikely to be many opportunities for seamers of Woakes’ style in Sri Lanka in April. He remains a potent force in England but as England start to look to the future, it is possible he may struggle to win a recall.
The rest of the England side for the three-day match in Whangerai is as expected. Dom Sibley opens alongside Rory Burns, with Joe Denly moved to No. 3 and Joe Root to No. 4. Ollie Pope will bat at No. 6 in between Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad are expected to take the new ball, with Jack Leach playing as the only spinner.
England XI 1 Rory Burns, 2 Dom Sibley, 3 Joe Denly, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Ollie Pope, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Sam Curran, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 Jack Leach.
Recent Match Report – Cape Town Blitz vs Jozi Stars, Mzansi Super League, 6th Match
Cape Town Blitz 183 for 6 (Livingstone 65) v Jozi Stars 126 (Bavuma 62, Magala 3-17) by 57 runs
It was third time unlucky for the defending champions, Jozi Stars, who were defeated by Cape Town Blitz for the second time in this edition of the tournament. After faltering in chase of 214 against the Blitz in the opener last Friday and falling 24 runs short of 168 against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants midweek, the Stars’ fortunes did not change and they were unable to hunt 184 under lights at Newlands. Despite a gusty 62 from captain Temba Bavuma, Stars remain at the bottom of the points table and have a mountain to climb to reach the playoffs. Blitz are up to second place.
He turned 19 just six weeks ago, is third on the first-class bowling charts and has now announced himself as the next big thing in South African cricket. Gerald Coetzee, who was schooled at St Andrews in Bloemfontein (the alma mater of cycling champion Chris Froome), made a big impression on his MSL debut by bouncing out the Blitz opening pair in his first spell. He had Janneman Malan caught at mid-off attempting a pull and Quinton de Kock caught behind off the top-edge. Coetzee had figures of 2 for 11 from his first two overs and if his night had ended there, he could have asked for nothing more. But, his next two overs, which included the final one of the innings, cost 31. Still, his overall analysis belies the early impact he made and in the gloom that is South African cricket at the moment, he is one to watch.
Living the good life
On arrival in Cape Town, Liam Livingstone spoke about his goals to go big in this tournament but with scores of 21 and 5, he wasn’t doing that in the first two matches. Livingstone put that right in this innings with a blistering 65 off 41 balls, which started when he attacked the Stars spinners and then saw him take apart young Coetzee. He took liberties when he moved across his stumps to flick Coetzee over the wicketkeeper, first for four, then for six and then for four again. He also enjoyed Dan Christian’s slower-ball bouncers too and gave the Blitz a fulcrum around which to build their innings.
Reputation may not be enough to keep Chris Gayle in the Jozi Stars XI after a third failing in as many matches. Unlike the previous two chases, where he got starts of 17 and 18 respectively, this time he inside-edged on to his stumps for a fifth-ball duck to put his team in trouble early on. After defending three balls he could have hit into gaps and almost being yorked and run-out off the same ball, Gayle was beaten for pace by Anrich Nortje, proving that even someone who was once thought invincible in this arena, is fallible.
If Wahab Riaz was feeling a little weary from Pakistan’s T20 series loss to Australia, he certainly wassn’t showing it. Fresh off the flight, he ensured the Jozi chase was over before it had even really begun when he played his part in a double-strike that put the Stars all but out of the contest. Wahab was at mid-on when Reeza Hendricks sent a Steyn ball swirling into the wind and steadied himself in time to take the catch. He was asked to bowl the next over and after starting with a wide, had Rassie van der Dussen caught behind for a duck to leave the Stars 27 for 3 in the fifth over, with victory still 157 runs away.
Linde’s luck is in
Recent Test debutant George Linde had luck with his first ball when he had Dan Christian given out lbw trying to sweep. Replays showed the ball would have gone over the stumps but by then, the Jozi Stars were 65 for 5, with little hope of challenging further.
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