CUL DE SAC—Nevis Masters Cricket Team lifted its third consecutive Leeward Island Masters Championship trophy with a tense 12 run win against St. Maarten Masters in the final at the Caribe Lumber Ballpark on Sunday.
Asked to bat first, the Nevis Masters chalked up a challenging 195 for four in 20 overs. St. Maarten Masters responded with 183 for eight in 20 overs.
The winners’ total was built around commanding innings of 90 from Merlin Liburd and then a frantic 47 from former West Indies all-rounder Carl Tuckett. Liburd, who opened the batting, slammed 12 fours and two sixes while Tuckett, who really gave the innings its final decoration, hit seven fours.
Liburd and his opening partner Curtis Morton punished the opening pace bowlers of the home team to race to 61 by the end of the fifth overs. By the time the fielding team introduced the spin bowlers; Liburd was unstoppable and kept hitting boundaries after boundaries.
Although St. Maarten grabbed two wickets quickly in Morton for 26 (5×4) and Junior Mills for nine (1×4) to stem the run flow momentarily, the presence of Liburd and Tuckett at the crease was a threat to the opposition. They benefitted from some tiring fielders who allowed balls to slip through for boundaries or were unable to chase after the balls.
Audie Liburd with 10 (1×4) and Wendell Wallace with 11 (2×4) were the other batsmen who scored double figures.
St. Maarten’s response was piloted by Stephen Evans who was later named the man of the series and the batsman with the most runs in the tournament.
Evans lost his opening partner in Burney Ryan for 10 (1×4, 1×6) with only 25 runs on the board but Nevis was able to celebrate another wicket until 111 runs later. Evans and Danga Farrell entertained the massive crowd with some classic stroke play that yielded sixes and fours in regular intervals.
Farrell smacked five fours and two sixes in 56 runs before he was dismissed via the run out route. His dismissal sent St. Maarten’s run chase spiralling downwards. Evans clobbered 13 fours and one six in his highly entertaining innings of 74.
When he was stumped with 40 runs to get in four overs, the supporters of the home team sank into despair. Kern Saunders walloped 14 off seven balls (3×4) to keep the run chase interesting but the run rate kept climbing and the lower order batsmen were unable to hit the big shots. Terry James scored 11 (1×4) to feature in a hat trick for Patrick Newton.
The best bowler for the winners was Newton with four for 18 in four overs. He was also handed the trophy for the most wickets in the tournament.
To get to the final, St. Maarten defeated Anguilla by eight wickets while Nevis beat Antigua and Barbuda by three wickets.
The tournament was hosted by St. Maarten and Anguilla. Seven teams participated in the tournament. They were Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.