HOBART, Tasmania (CMC):West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor suffered a rare double failure with the bat, but her Sydney Thunder did enough to win twice in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League here yesterday.In the first game of a doubleheader at the Kingston Twin Ovals, Thunder beat Brisbane Heat by five wickets in the first game and returned to defeat Hobart Hurricanes by eight runs in a night encounter.Both Thunder and Hurricanes sit top of the standings on 14 points with identical 7-2 records, but Thunder hold the edge courtesy of net run rate. Chasing an uncomplicated 95 for victory against Heat, Taylor was dismissed for a first-ball ‘duck’ as the visitors stumbled to 20 for three in the fifth over.However, Naomi Stalenburg stroked 42 and captain Alex Blackwell an unbeaten 32 in a 60-run fourth-wicket partnership which rescued the innings.Heat had earlier fallen for 94 all out off their 20 overs, with 19-year-old left-arm spinner Maisy Gibson taking three for 14.Taylor claimed one wicket for six runs from two overs of off-spin.In the second game at Bellerive Oval, Taylor managed just eight as Thunder reached 135 for seven off their 20 overs after opting to bat first.Stalenburg was again among the runs with a cavalier 37 off 16 deliveries, including five fours and two sixes.In reply, Hurricanes were restricted to 127 for eight off their 20 overs, with Taylor’s West Indies teammate Hayley Matthews scoring 11.Captain Heather Knight top-scored with 26.Taylor produced a crucial spell, picking up two for 27 from four overs, to help cripple the Hurricanes run chase.
Two hard-hitting Jamaican boxers, Ramel ‘Sub Zero’ Lewis and Michael Gardener, will clash tonight in the first quarter-final bout of the Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender series at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium. The tournament that started on March 10 with 16 boxers, has now been whittled down to eight and the winners in this segment will all be guaranteed one of the top financial prizes. These are $2 million to the champion, $500,000 to the runner-up, $250,000 for third place and $200,000 for fourth. Lewis is a veteran of the Contender series and reached the finals as a welterweight in 2012, where he lost to Donovan ‘Police’ Campbell. In his first appearance this year against Fard Muhammad, he showed touches of brilliance, but also the ill effects of a nearly two-year absence from the ring. He won that fight by technical knockout, when Muhammad, a veteran in Mixed Martial Arts, made his debut as a professional boxer. He caught Muhammad with some good punches, but took some himself and was wild at times. He has to improve a lot tonight if he is to win. He acknowledged his weaknesses after that fight and vowed to do better next time around. That next time is tonight and he will be going up against a formidable opponent. In his first fight in the competition, Gardener, who was making his professional debut, was composed going up against American Jose Guzman and his punishing body attacks allowed him to win by knockout in the second round. He is very confident for tonight’s fight and has promised more of what he produced against Guzman. Punching power and stamina will undoubtedly be the two main ingredients tonight and it is obvious that both men are coming into the fight in an attacking mode. It will only be over five rounds, but that will be plenty of time for both men to put their boxing skills and punching power on display. Spectators should therefore have a lot to cheer about, for as long as the fight lasts. The programme starts at 8:30 p.m. and the main bout, which will be broadcast live on TVJ, is scheduled for 9:30.