Natasha McLean’s power-packed knock guides Jamaica to T20 Blaze title

Jamaica won T20 Blaze, 2022 © Cricket West Indies

Riding on the back of a gigantic 124-run win over the Leeward Islands, Jamaica won the coveted T20 Blaze 2022 tournament on Tuesday (June 15).

The last day of the competition saw the tournament favourites Barbados lose to Trinidad & Tobago in the morning game. The 19-run defeat cost them the title as they failed to retain it.

Both Jamaica and Barbados suffered one loss each and finished with four wins and the same number of points (16) but Jamaica were crowned champions based on a better net run rate (2.170 in comparison to Barbados’ 1.428).

After electing to bat first at the Guyana National Stadium, Natasha McLean led the charge for Jamaica as she scored 83 runs off just 54 balls and put them in the ascendancy. Her match-winning knock which included nine fours and three sixes guided the team to 170 for the loss of five wickets.

She stitched a record 145-run stand (highest this tournament) with Stafanie Taylor, who herself scored a half-century (56 runs off 51 balls).

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In reply, Leeward Islands’ batters couldn’t get going at all and a disciplined bowling effort from the Jaimacan bowlers restricted them to 46 for the loss of three wickets in 20 overs.

Taylor praised McLean for her fantastic knock and dedicated the victory to their former Head Coach Cleon Smith, who passed away in May 2020.

“It’s a good feeling. I thought today we did a fantastic job, Natasha (McLean) 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.”

“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.”

The first match on the final day of the tournament saw Trinidad & Tobago claim a 19-run victory against Barbados that denied them (Barbados) the opportunity to bag the title for the second consecutive time.

Electing to set a score on the board, Trinidad & Tobago were under the pump as they lost wickets at regular intervals. But decent contributions from skipper Anisa Mohammed (20 runs off 36 balls), Britney Cooper (22 runs off 23 balls), and Rachel Vincent (22* runs off 21 deliveries) propelled them to 108 for the loss of seven wickets at the end of their 20 overs.

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Barbados’ skipper Hayley Matthews and Shakera Selman bagged two wickets each in their four overs.

In pursuit of the target, Barbados could only manage 89 in their 20 overs as Mohammed and Kamara Ragoobar bowled exceedingly well. While Mohammed led from the front and picked up a three-wicket haul, Ragoobar bagged two herself and ended with figures of 2/16 in her four overs.

On the other hand, Hosts Guyana ended their campaign with a resounding six-wicket victory over the Windward Islands. Batting first the Windward Islands scored merely 85 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs. With 26 runs off 31 balls, skipper Afy Fletcher top-scored for them.

Japhina Joseph played a 21-run knock lower down the order that included three boundaries and propelled the Windward Islands to a respectable total. Left-arm off-spinner, Kaysia Schultz, was the pick of the Guyana bowlers as she claimed figures of 3/13 in her four overs.

In response, Guyana lost a few wickets but Shemaine Campbelle scored an unbeaten 29* off 30 balls to steer them home.

Brief Scores: Jamaica 170/5 in 20 overs (Natasha McLean 83, Stafanie Taylor 56; Amanda Edwards 2/11) beat Leeward Islands 46/3 in 20 overs (Shawnisha Hector 17*; Chinelle Henry 1/3) by 124 runs