BASSETERRE – Barbados needed less than two hours on today’s final day to crush Leeward Islands by an innings and 31 runs and storm into the semi-finals of the WICB Regional Four-Day Championship.
They were led by experienced left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn who snatched six for 43 to send the Leewards crashing to 149 all out in their second innings, after they resumed the sixth round clash at Warner Park on 40 for four.
Off-spinner Ashley Nurse supported with four for 47, to end with match figures of ten for 136.
Wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton top scored with 50 while Devon Thomas chipped in with 29. The pair featured in a 68-run, sixth wicket stand after captain Sylvester Joseph fell in the day’s second over, but once they were separated, the end for the Leewards came quickly.With the win, Barbados moved to 36 points, level with Trinidad and Tobago, with five-time champions Jamaica and Windward Islands leading the standings with 48 points.
Barbados and T&T face off next week in Port of Spain, in their final round encounter.
Starting the day requiring a further 140 runs to make Barbados bat again, the Leewards stumbled early when Benn struck with the eighth ball of play, getting one to spin sharply and trap Joseph lbw on the back-foot for three.
Hamilton and Thomas then denied Barbados any further immediate success with the best stand of the innings, playing positively against both Nurse and Benn.
The 22-year-old Hamilton struck seven fours in a knock off 80 balls in an hour-and-a-half at the crease while Thomas faced 52 balls in an hour’s batting, and counted four fours.
The breakthrough came when Thomas edged Benn to Nurse at slip with the score on 112 for six and Tonito Willett followed soon afterward for five, lbw to Benn.
Hamilton eventually reached his fifth first class half-century but failed to push on, falling lbw to Nurse at 142 for eight.
The innings finished swiftly as Hayden Walsh Jr was caught close to the wicket by Kevin Stoute off Benn for 13 and Anthony Martin was lbw to Nurse without scoring.
Talented 20-year-old West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite was named man-of-the-match for his third first-class century – a career-best 165 in a total of 381 for six declared in Barbados’ innings.
For the third consecutive day, play started half-an-hour early at 9.30 a.m. to make up for time lost due to rain on the opening day.††