Jamaica edge Leewards in Warner Park thriller
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Tail-ender Jamie Merchant smashed 10 runs in two balls as Jamaica edged Leeward Islands by three wickets on the fourth day of their second-round, Regional Four-Day match, here Monday night.
With Jamaica needing 10 for victory with 12 balls remaining, Merchant hit a six and a four to stun the local crowd and secure the second consecutive win for his side under lights at Warner Park.
Set 218 for victory, Jamaica coasted to 67 for the loss of one wicket by tea on the fourth and final day.
John Campbell top scored with 43, Nkrumah Bonner, 30, and later Jerome Taylor, with 24, laid the foundation to the run chase.
However, in a riveting crescendo to an engaging contest, Leewards fought back to reduce Jamaica to 154 for six.
The Jamaicans found themselves needing 151 runs to win off 26 overs, a situation requiring greater urgency.
Carlton Baugh and David Bernard added 49 for the seventh wicket to take them within reach of the target.
Bernard was run out for 30, disrupting the Jamaica momentum amid tense moments.
Merchant's heroics in hitting a six and a four in consecutive balls secured the win with 10 balls to spare.
Gavin Tongue, Kelbert Walters, and Anthony Martin picked up two wickets each.
Leewards resumed Monday with a lead of 77 runs from an overnight score of 117 for three.
Devon Thomas, 53 not out, and Kieran Powell, 33 overnight, consolidated the innings by compiling 142 runs for the fourth wicket.
Thomas went on to top score with 94, while Powell reached 86 in efforts which put Leewards in a position to force an outright victory.
Thomas also shared in a sixth wicket stand with Tonito Willett that produced 48 runs.
John Campbell finished with impressive figures of four wickets for 15 runs, while Merchant grabbed three for 101.
Campbell was voted player of the match for scoring 110 in Jamaica's first innings and a four-wicket haul.