Jamaica were crowned champions of the Women’s T20 Blaze as they recorded a massive 124-run victory against Leeward Islands on the final day of the tournament in Guyana on Tuesday.
There was tension and drama at the Guyana National Stadium, as the front-runner and defending champions Barbados lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the morning match and then Jamaica secured their victory.
Both teams ended on 16 points but Jamaica were declared champions on a superior net run rate.
Trinidad and Tobago finished in third place on 14 points followed by Guyana (10), Windward Islands (4), and Leeward Islands (0).
Batting first after winning the toss at the Guyana National Stadium, Jamaica posted 170 for five off their allotted 20 overs and then restricted the Leeward Islands to 46 for three.
The Jamaicans were led by Natasha McLean who smashed her career-best score and the highest for the tournament. The powerful 27-year-old opener made 83 off just 54 balls, which included nine sizzling fours and three towering sixes.
Captain Stafanie Taylor also came to the party as she made 56 from 51 balls, which included five fours. McLean and Taylor shared a record 145-run partnership – the highest this tournament as well after Rashada Williams was dismissed for six.
The Jamaica bowlers showed great control and limited the Leeward Islands batting.
Chinelle Henry, Neisha-Ann Waisome, and Corrine Howell secured a wicket each.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Taylor. “I thought today [Tuesday] we did a fantastic job, Natasha getting us to that total, we needed somebody to propel us, given what happened against Barbados yesterday [Monday] … we were given another chance and we did it.”
Barbados had placed one hand on the title when they defeated Jamaica in the penultimate round on Monday to take sole possession of the lead on 16 points.
Taylor added: “After seeing Barbados lose to Trinidad … I said to the players let’s go out there and try to win the toss and bat first, post a big total, and at least we know that’s something we can control. Also, we want to dedicate this win to our former coach Cleon Smith who died since we last played this tournament.”
Trinidad and Tobago caused the upset of the tournament when they knocked the T20 Blaze title out of Barbados’ hand.
Coming into the match Barbados needed a win to secure back-to-back titles but they fell to a 19-run defeat.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Trinidad and Tobago were on the back foot early with the steady loss of wickets. However, knocks of 22 from Britney Cooper and 22 not out from Rachel Vincent, along with 20 from captain Anisa Mohammed were enough to help them post 108 for seven from their 20 overs.
Captain Hayley Matthews had the best figures for Barbados with two for 25 followed by Shakera Selman with two for 30.
When Barbados batted, they struggled for momentum. Matthews (18), Kyshona Knight (23), and Aaliyah Alleyne (26) were the only Bajan batters to reach double figures and they could only finish on 89 for seven off 20 overs.
Mohammed had an all-around performance as she returned to take three for 11 from her four overs, while Kamara Ragoobar had two for 16 from four overs.
In the day’s other match, home team Guyana ended the tournament with a six-wicket victory over the Windward Islands.
Windwards captain Afy Fletcher top-scored for her side with 26 off 31 deliveries to help them post 85 for seven from their 20 overs.
Left-arm orthodox Kaysia Schultz was the best bowler for Guyana with three for 14 from her four overs.
Guyana replied with 86 for four to win with 21 balls remaining.
Shemaine Campbelle top-scored for Guyana with an almost a run-a-ball, as she finished on 29 off 30 deliveries, which included three boundaries.