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England 166 for 6 (Jones 55, Knight 42) beat West Indies 122 for 9 (Nation 30, Glenn 2-15, Brunt 2-21) by 44 runs

A quick-fire half-century from Amy Jones drove England to within one victory of a 5-0 series sweep in the penultimate T20I against West Indies.

Jones struck 55 off 37 balls to drag England from 45 for 3 to 166 for 6 in the fourth fixture in Derby, their highest score of the series so far, as Heather Knight’s 42 and Katherine Brunt’s unbeaten 25 helped to set West Indies an imposing target.

Another disciplined performance from England’s bowlers compounded West Indies’ struggles to find depth in their batting, with Brunt and Sarah Glenn claiming two wickets each as the tourists fell well short at 122 for 9 from their 20 overs, Chedean Nation top-scoring for them with just 30.

Windies of Change

With the series already lost, West Indies rang in the changes, bringing in Aaliyah Alleyne, Karishma Ramharack and Shabika Gajnabi for Afy Fletcher, Chinelle Henry and Shakera Selman as captain Stafanie Taylor explained before the match: “There’s no point having young players here and not showcasing them.” Alleyne and Ramharack are both 25 but had played just 12 T20Is between them going into the match, while the 20-year-old Gajnabi had played the last of her five T20Is against India nearly a year ago.

Alleyne played the first two matches of this series – although she didn’t bowl in the second and conceded 25 runs from two wicketless overs in the first. Her return to the fold looked inspired when she struck with her sixth ball, the 12th of the match, to remove Danni Wyatt, whose attempted cut sent an edge through to wicketkeeper Shemaine Campbelle. The resulting duck continued a lean series for England opener Wyatt with scores of 17, 14 and 11 from the first three matches. Alleyne then lured Nat Sciver, star of the third match with 82, into an edge behind and England were 22 for 2.

Ramharack snared a wicket with her first ball of the series, trapping Tammy Beaumont lbw as she tried to reverse-sweep and removing another dangerous England batsman for 27. Gajnabi’s only over went for 17 as Knight let fly, thrashing a six and picking off two beautifully timed fours to give England a timely boost.

Ramharack came in for similar punishment soon after, also going for 17 off an over as Jones joined in on the act with a sublime reverse-swept four followed immediately by the most nonchalant six over long-off as she and Knight brought up their 50-partnership off just 30 balls.

Jones steps up

Knight looked to be in fine touch as she raced to 42 from 30 deliveries and, more importantly joined Jones in lifting England out of trouble. But when she edged Shamilia Connell to Campbelle for a caught behind and then Sophia Dunkley – playing her first T20I in 18 months after replacing Fran Wilson – fell to a sharp caught-and-bowled by Hayley Matthews moments later without scoring, England were 112 for 5 and in need of revival again.

Jones filled the role to perfection, making West Indies pay after she had struck a Taylor delivery straight to midwicket where Lee-Ann Kirby shelled the chance with England 48 for 2 and Jones on just 2 at the time. Jones smashed Connell for another glorious six over cow corner to bring up England’s 100 and raced to her own 50 off just 30 balls.

She was joined by Brunt, who produced an excellent cameo of 25 not out from 17 balls, although Jones was run out after Brunt was caught ball-watching and missed her calls for a single as Ramharack fired the ball in at the non-striker’s end and Jones was caught in no-man’s land.

It was another step in Jones’ establishment in the middle order, after she was moved down from opener late in England’s T20 World Cup campaign, producing some handy innings in the 20s without being required to do much more. And while she had a fraught evening behind the stumps, dropping two simple skied catches, she could be proud of her contribution with the bat.

No reply from West Indies

Set their highest chase of the series, West Indies’ reliance on Deandra Dottin and Taylor brought them undone when both fell cheaply. Dottin, who had registered two half-centuries and again top-scored for her side with 38 in the second match, managed just 4 before she was brilliantly bowled by Brunt in the first over of this encounter. Looking to pull, the ball skidded on and decimated the stumps.

Taylor reached 13 before she was bowled by Glenn and, while Nation contributed a much-needed 30 from 25 balls before she was run out by Sciver to top-score for West Indies. But it wasn’t nearly enough and the tourists were left with a familiar problem of missing a really big score from the top order and lacking the depth to make up for it.

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One additional Badgers player, two staff members test positive for COVID-19

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The COVID-19 outbreak in the Wisconsin Badgers football program continues to grow.

The athletic department announced Thursday that one additional Badgers player and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 16 active COVID-19 cases in the program, including 15 positive tests since Oct. 24.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin canceled its Oct. 31 game against Nebraska after 12 people — six student athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst — tested positive for the coronavirus.

All football activities have been paused for at least one week, slotting the team’s earliest possible return date at Nov. 4. Wisconsin’s next game on the schedule is Nov. 7 against Purdue at home. Based on CDC and Big Ten protocols, Chryst can potentially return to the Badgers in person on Nov. 7 following a 10-day quarantine period.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez received his results Thursday and tested negative for COVID-19.



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Terence Crawford next fight: Welterweight champ set to return in November against Kell Brook

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Terence Crawford is ready to return to the ring. After saying that he wouldn’t fight without a live gate unless he was compensated correctly at the onset of the global pandemic, Crawford will fight again on Nov. 14 against veteran contender Kell Brook on ESPN. 

Crawford was linked to some potentially exciting fights with Manny Pacquiao and Shawn Porter, which would seem to indicate some bridges finally crossed between Top Rank, who promotes Crawford, and PBC, who controls Pacquiao, Porter and the majority of the other top welterweights in boxing. Instead, the WBO welterweight champion will meet Brook, who has won three straight against lesser competition after being knocked out by Errol Spence and Gennadiy Golovkin in consecutive bouts.

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Crawford (36-0, 27 KO) is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but has run into issues in recent years with the top fighters being aligned with PBC and cutting into the most attractive possible matches. That left Crawford to display his talents against outgunned opponents Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Amir Khan in 2019 while rival and PBC fighter Spence Jr. had career-defining battles with Mikey Garcia and Porter.

A showdown with PBC-promoted Spence, who holds the WBC and IBF titles, is the long-discussed but seemingly unlikely biggest fight in the welterweight division. Potential bouts with PBC’s Pacquiao and Porter were supposed to serve as gateway bouts to making the Spence fight a reality, though Top Rank’s Bob Arum seemed more committed to the idea of Crawford vs. Brook, which was announced as a Crawford’s next fight during the ESPN broadcast of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez.

Brook (39-2, 27 KO) is the former IBF welterweight champ. Returning to welterweight to defend his title, Brook was stopped in Round 11 by Spence. Three fights against middling competition between 2018 and 2020 lined Brook up to get another title shot, this time gunning for Crawford’s welterweight belt.



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Former CA chief James Sutherland heads multimillion-dollar deal to replace MyCricket

A company headed by two former Cricket Australia executives has won a multimillion-dollar contract to build a bespoke replacement for MyCricket, the much-criticised digital portal for community cricket in Australia.

PlayHQ, which boasts the former CA chief executive James Sutherland as chairman and the ex-CA manager of media rights and strategy, Sam Walch, as chief executive, had already picked up major contracts to run digital fixturing, scoring and administration of basketball and Australian football at community levels.

But the confirmation of the deal with CA, which will see PlayHQ provide the platform for cricket clubs and programs across the country to be, in the words of the head of community cricket Belinda Clark, “able to be run from a smartphone” and is believed to be worth more than A$5 million, will have a huge impact on the lives of around 300,000 club players registered with MyCricket across the country, plus many more junior and school program participants.

“This is a critical project for Australian cricket. We need to get the basics right first, and there is an immediate need to replace the legacy platform with a system that is modern and makes it easier to do all the tasks required to run local programs and competitions,” CA’s head of customer experience Kieran McMillan said. “Tens of thousands of volunteers give up their evenings and weekends for our sport, and we want to give them back some time to enjoy the best parts of getting involved in their club.

“Technology will play an increasingly important role in community sport and we have an opportunity to be leading the charge. Through the support of quality partners, the community can expect more digital innovation and increased functionality over time. Whether that be live streaming, or club management tools, or even micro-chips in balls – the products and services you will be able to access on your phone or laptop will make it easier to run the game and more enjoyable to play the game.”

Basketball provided the first means for PlayHQ to test out its capabilities, and early suggestions prior to the onset of Covid-19 were that its systems enabled faster and easier management of clubs and competitions, based in particular on a pilot program involving around 20 country basketball associations.

The AFL then announced a deal with Play HQ in June. Its head of states and game development, Sam Graham, described the project’s goals at the time as: “It’s about getting the admin done more quickly and easily, so there’s time to focus on the footy.”

Speaking about the cricket deal, Walch offered similar words. “PlayHQ’s vision is to provide a world class solution for the administration of grassroots sport, and to make it easier for volunteers, participants, parents, coaches and umpires to engage with the games they love.”

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