ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda defeated St Kitts by 26 runs to win their first Nagico Leeward Islands Twenty20 championship.
“I think the maturity of the Antigua & Barbuda team would have maybe led the way, especially with the return of Sylvester Joseph as captain and the likes of Gavin Tonge and Hayden Walsh Jr and Larry Joseph, and I think that would have led to Antigua & Barbuda’s dominance; plus Antigua & Barbuda have a way of winning in Leeward Islands’ tournaments,” said Vernon Springer of WINN FM in St Kitts.
“So I think when you look on paper and you match up St Kitts and Antigua & Barbuda on the day, Antigua & Barbuda would stand out based on their experience, whether it’s three day, the 20 over competition, or the 50 over competition.”
Winning the toss and electing to take the pitch at the Charles Vlaun Cricket Field in St Maarten, Antigua & Barbuda amassed 164 for six off their allotted 20 overs.
Captain Sylvester “Bouncing” Joseph top scored with 73 from 45 balls which included eight fours and four sixes, while Juari Edwards backed up his skipper with a crucial half-century (57) from 49 balls. Hayden Walsh Jr added 24 not out.
Kittitian Elsroy Powell claimed two wickets for 22 runs. St Kitts replied with 138 for seven off 20 overs.
Terrance Warde hit 30 from 30 balls, including three fours and a six; Powell struck 27 not out, and Tashmail Mills added 17.
Rahkeem “Jimbo” Cornwall scalped three for 19 runs, Joseph had two for 25, and Tonge took another two for 37.
Springer registered some disappointment for the lack of aggression from the Kittitian middle-order.
“I think St Kitts’ middle-order really did not turn up because when you look at the experience at the top of the order with the likes of Shane Jeffers and Steve Liburd, those are the guys to lead the way as compared to Antigua & Barbuda who would have guys who have been around for a long time and they’re going to put their hands up,” Springer said.
“St Kitts were always struggling against the run rate.”
Antigua & Barbuda will face Nevis today in St Maarten in the first Nagico One-Day semi-final match, and St Kitts come up against Anguilla on Saturday.
The ODI finals are scheduled for Sunday at the same venue.