Superb Nevis win Leewards T20 title on thrilling final day

Nevis emerged champions of the inaugural Leeward Islands Cricket Association’s Master Blaster T20 tournament, thanks to a superb victory on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.

Going into the final round of matches, the Nevisians needed to win over arch rivals St Kitts and hope that Antigua and Barbuda lost to Montserrat. Antigua lost by one run and then Nevis beat St Kitts by 14 runs. Nevis and Antigua both ended on 12 points but Nevis had a net run rate of 0.838 narrowly ahead of the home side whose net run rate was 0.750. St Kitts ended on eight points, Anguilla four points (net run rate -1.225) and Montserrat four points (net run rate -1.412)

It required a good allround performance from Nevis captain Tonito Willett to lead his team to the title. He hit 42 to bat well alongside Carlo Smithen who topscored with 44, as Nevis reached 140-8 in their 20 overs. Willett then took 2-21 and Ian Byron 2-2 as the Kittians was limited to 126-6 from their 20 overs.

Earlier, Antigua and Barbuda needed to win to secure the title but were bundled out for a paltry 80 in 16.4 overs. Despite suffering four run outs, the Montserrat players held the innings together. They entered the final over needing seven runs and reached the target with one ball to spare, with the last pair at the crease.

The Leeward Islands players used the weeklong tournament as warm-up for the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 Tournament to be played in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago from July 22 to 31. The Leewards will compete in Zone A alongside Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada.  Zone B includes Barbados, Guyana, Combined Campuses & Colleges, and Windward Islands.

The Leewards take on Jamaica on July 22 at 8 pm at Kensington Oval in Barbados and return to the same venue two days later to meet Trinidad and Tobago at 8 pm. Their final preliminary match will be against Canada at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad on July 28 at 4 pm.