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All-round Matthews shows the way again as West Indies secure T20I series against Ireland



Hayley Matthews powers the ball away during her half-century (picture CWI)
Hayley Mathews was at it again, leading West Indies with the bat after chipping in with the ball, to take them to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Ireland in the second of three T20Is in Gros Islet to sew up the series.
Like in the first game, where she was Player of the Match for her 3 for 22 and 42-ball 37, which took West Indies to a last-ball win, Matthews was Player of the Match again here. She first returned 1 for 24 to help restrict Ireland to a modest 113 for 7, and then scored 50 in 39 balls, with nine fours, to put West Indies in sight of victory before being dismissed.
Chinelle Henry’s 12-ball 22 and Shabika Gajnabi’s unbeaten 29-ball 17 finished the job for West Indies in 16.4 overs, very different to how tense it got in the first game, where West Indies were chasing an almost identical target, of 113.
“I think we’re pretty happy with the result,” Matthews was quoted as saying by Cricket West Indies after the match. “Coming into this tour, we wanted to be able to take home both series [West Indies won the ODIs 2-0], so just very happy that we were able to go out there and win convincingly today and secure the T20I series. “We had more intent going out today and we noticed early on that the wicket was a bit better on today and we went out with the intent to chase down the runs quicker. What really helped us today was the fielding, the catches and run-outs we were able to take, kudos to the overall team for the bowling performance they put on and the fielders for backing them up.”
Indeed, more than Matthews or any of the other West Indies bowlers – Shamilia Connell and Cherry-Ann Fraser took one wicket each, too – it was the run-outs that stymied Ireland after they had opted to bat. The first wicket, that of Gaby Lewis, was to a run-out, and the collapse from 77 for 3 in the 16th over to 113 for 7 by the end featured three more run-outs.
Amy Hunter, the opener, was the best of their batters on the day, scoring 33 in 35 balls with four fours, while Laura Delany chipped in with a 35-ball 20 and there were cameos at the end from Eimear Richardson (16 in 15 balls), Rebecca Stokell (15 in 11) and Arlene Kelly (13 in nine).
Matthews lost her opening partner Rashada Williams (16 in 20) off the first ball of the seventh over after a 40-run stand, which put them on the road to victory. And after Matthews fell, Henry and Gajnabi took West Indies home with lots to spare.
The tour-ending third T20I will be played on July 8, also in Gros Islet.
Brief scores:
West Indies 114 for 2 (Matthews 50, Henry 22*, Delany 1-12) beat Ireland 113 for 7 (Hunter 33, Fraser 1-16) by eight wickets

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Decision on sexual assault case against Danushka Gunathilaka next Thursday (28)




Danushka Gunathilaka is accused of "stealthing" a woman he met online (pic ABC Net)

The hearing of the sexual assault case against Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilake before the New South Wales District Court concluded today (21) and Judge Sarah Huggett will hand down her decision next Thursday (28).

(ABC net)

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Selectors make ‘U’ turn after requesting Shanaka to step down



Dasun Shanaka has been retained as Sri Lanka’s ODI captain.  

by Rex Clementine

The national selection panel that met yesterday made a complete ‘U’ turn having earlier requested captain Dasun Shanaka to step down in the lead up to next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup to be played in India. After Sri Lanka’s horrendous show in the Asia Cup final, where the team was bowled out for 50 runs, their lowest total at home, someone had to be scapegoated and Dasun Shanaka fitted the selectors’ bill.

The captain had been informed to step down so that a new captain could be appointed and accordingly Kusal Mendis was tipped to take over. Team management had endorsed Mendis highlighting him as the player who contributed most during team meetings. He was anyway deputy to Dasun in ODIs.

Although Dasun had expressed his willingness to step aside so that the selectors could make the change, the national selection panel decided to retain Dasun following a meeting yesterday.

While a section of the public had wanted the captain gone due to an extended run of poor form with the bat, some others had argued that axing the captain on the verge of an event like the World Cup wasn’t the most sensible move.

Had Dasun stepped down, he was in fear of not finding a place in the team as well as the selectors had wanted the new captain to make the call of having or not having the misfiring ex-captain in the team.

Despite the debacle in the final, Sri Lanka had done well to progress to the finals of the Asia Cup having beaten Afghanistan and Pakistan and Bangladesh twice. There were fears of the team not progressing beyond the first round after the bowling attack was completely depleted with injuries.

Although Dasun has been now retained as the captain, he will be under tremendous pressure to deliver following a string of low scores. Having said that, he was Sri Lanka’s best batter when the national cricket team toured India earlier this month.

Sri Lanka will leave for India next week and will be based in Guwahati where they will play two warm-up games against Asian rivals Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka’s first game of the World Cup is against South Africa on the 7th of October in Delhi.

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Arachchige to lead second-string Sri Lanka side at the Asian games



Sahan Arachchige has two ODI caps to his name

Sri Lanka have announced a young squad for the 2023 Asian Games – essentially a Sri Lanka A side – with Sahan Arachchige set to lead the 15-member squad.

Among those with international caps, Ashen Bandara tops the list with 11 white-ball games under his belt. Nuwanidu Fernando and Nuwan Thushara have played four games each, while Arachchige has played two ODIs.

A majority of the team have however appeared in the Lanka Premier League (LPL), so fans may not be completely unfamiliar with some of these names, but this will be a good opportunity to observe them over a more consistent period.

Most of the excitement will arguably surround the batters, with the likes of Lasith Croospulle, Shevon Daniel, Fernando and Arachchige having popped up on the radar during the most recent LPL season.

Croospulle was part of ESPNcricinfo’s LPL 2023 team of the tournament for his 232 runs at an average 33.14, while Daniel too had some exciting cameos opening the innings. At just 19, he also has a first-class double ton to his name.

Fernando meanwhile has the distinction of having played one of the most impactful innings in last year’s LPL, when he scored a 42-ball 63 on a surface all other batters had struggled on. This year as well he compiled an unbeaten 39-ball 56 against Dambulla Aura but wasn’t able to take his side over teh line. As for Arachchige, despite having a subdued LPL, he has impressed in recent games for the Sri Lanka A side, notably notching a pair of centuries against England Lions earlier this year.

In Bandara, Sri Lanka have one of the best fielders in the tournament, while his six ODIs for the national side have already brought about two fifties – his relative experience will hold them in good stead. Rounding out the batting will be wicketkeeper Lahiru Udara, lower-middle order batter Ahan Wickramasinghe and allrounders Lahiru Samarakoon, Nimesh Vimukthi, Ranitha Liyanarachchi, Sachitha Jayathilaka and Ravindu Fernando.

On the fast bowling front, a lot will depend on Thushara. Dubbed podi (little) Malinga due to his slingy action, Thushara has been consistently among the better performers in recent LPL seasons. He makes up for his lack of searing pace with good control and variety. Thushara will be supported by 26-year-old quick Isitha Wijesundara, and allrounders Samarakoon and Liyanarachchi.

In the spin department, Sri Lanka boasts a fair degree of variety. Legspinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth will the lead the way, having broken into the starting XI of Jaffna Kings – and played a key role in their 2022 championship. Nimesh Vimukthi will share the burden with his slow left-arm orthodox, while Ravindu and Arachchige provide offbreak options. Jayathilaka meanwhile is capable of zippy leg breaks pushed quickly through the air.

Sri Lanka have a direct entry into the Asian Games quarter-finals and play their first game on October 4. All matches will be in the T20 format.

Full squad:

Lasith Croospulle, Shevon Daniel, Ashen Bandara, Sahan Arachchige (capt), Ahan Wickramasinghe, Lahiru Udara (wk), Ravindu Fernando, Ranitha Liyanarachchi, Nuwanidu Fernando, Sachitha Jayatilaka, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Nimesh Vimukthi, Lahiru Samarakoon, Nuwan Thushara, Isitha Wijesundera


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