ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Scintillating batting – led by Kirk Edwards and Shimron Hetmyer – and destructive bowling – epitomized by Imran Khan and Keemo Paul – marked play in the West Indies Championship on Sunday, as leaders Guyana Jaguars and Trinidad & Tobago Red Force wrapped up victory.
The WINDIES pair of Paul and Hetmyer topped the first hundred Edwards has scored on the West Indies first-class scene in five years to propel the Jags to an eight-wicket victory at the Guyana National Stadium for their fourth win on the trot and season sweep of this opponent on the final day of fourth-round matches.
At the other end of the Caribbean archipelago – leg-spinner Khan bowled Red Force to their first victory of the season and piled further pressure on Jamaica Scorpions with a 157-run victory at Sabina Park.
Barbados Pride and Leeward Islands Hurricanes – the other two teams in the Championship – have had their fourth-round contest rescheduled to March.
Starting the day on 167 for three and needing a huge effort to avoid defeat, the Volcanoes’ batting was propped up by Edwards’ ninth first-class hundreds of 139 and a defiant 67 from Denis Smith.
The 34-year-old Edwards, the Barbados-born Volcanoes captain and former WINDIES vice-captain, struck 21 fours and two sixes from 186 balls in a shade over three hours at the crease for his first hundred in the Professional Cricket League era of the Championship.
He extended his overnight fourth-wicket stand with Kavem Hodge to 64 before adding a further 83 with Smith for the sixth wicket and becoming one of three scalps on the day for Paul, whose figures of 4-72 from 18 overs earned him a match haul of 10-129.
Smith collected eight boundaries from 96 balls in just over 2 ¼ hours of batting and carried the innings before he was run out in the first hour after lunch to bring an end to the Volcanoes’ resistance.
Jaguars were set back early in their run chase, when Josh Thomas bowled left-handed opener Trevon Griffith for 12.
But fellow left-hander Hetmyer entertained with five fours and five sixes in 61 off 29 balls before he was dismissed with just five required for victory.
Jaguar’s wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble was named Player-of-the-Match for his first innings hundred and six catches behind the stumps.
Jaguars (454-9 dec & 121-2) beat Volcanoes (209 & 361) by eight wickets in Providence, Guyana
Meanwhile, Khan tore through the bottom half of the Scorpions batting, ending with 5-59 from 24 overs, and left-arm spinner Khary Pierre finished with 3-29 from 18 overs to make him a shoo-in for the Player-of-the-Match award, as the result was welcomed relief for Red Force after they lost their first two matches of the season.
After the Scorpions resumed from their overnight total of 108 for five, Test left-hander Assad Fudadin made 35 and was the only batsman that showed prolonged defiance before the last four wickets fell for 20 in the space of 61 balls, leaving the home team to ponder their third straight defeat of the season.
Red Force (203 & 233) beat Scorpions (112 & 167) by 157 runs in Kingston, Jamaica