A man-of-the-match performance from Xavier Marshall yesterday carried St Ann Cutters to a three-wicket win over defending champions Melbourne Kangaroos in the final of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Limited Overs Knockout at Sabina Park.
In what was a closely contested affair that went down to the wire, Melbourne, after losing the toss and being asked to take first strike, posted a challenging 268 for six off their maximum 50 overs.
St Ann, in reply, then pushed their way to 272 for seven with 4.3 overs remaining.
Marshall, batting in his usual aggressive style, hit eight sixes and three fours on his way to making 83, and bowling his trademark flat and economical off-spins, claimed two for 39.
St Ann were winning the title for the second time. The first was 2000 when they defeated Melbourne in a high-scoring final at Melbourne Oval.
Melbourne, on the other hand, were stopped in their tracks from claiming a fourth straight hold on the crown and 13th overall in the 20-year-old competition. It was also their third loss at this stage of the competition.
“It felt good batting. It also felt good to get a half-century that helped set the foundation for the team’s run chase,” said Marshall.
“We have a fairly good team with a good balance of young and experienced players, and it shows that all the hard work we put in was worth it,” he added.
Melbourne’s innings was built around two key partnerships, a composed 82-ball unbeaten 93 from Carlton Baugh Jr, which included seven boundaries and two sixes, and an entertaining 81-ball 71 from in-form all-rounder, Damion Jacobs. Marlon Samuels made 20.
Part-time off-spinners, John Campbell, 3 for 44, and Duran White, 2 for 37, took most wickets for St Ann.
In the victors’ reply, Marshall received best support from middle-order batsman Marlon Pinnock, who made a quick-fire unbeaten 48 off 24 balls, and hit the winning runs. Opener Marlon Johnson made 30, and Campbell, 27.
Part-time off-spinner Andre McCarthy, 3 for 36, and leg-spinner, Jacobs, 2 for 68, bagged most wickets for the losers.
“I wouldn’t say it is a disappointment to lose, as we tried our best,” said Melbourne captain, Samuels.
“We dropped too many catches, including that of Marshall early in his innings. But well played to St Ann. They played us hard, and are deserving winners,” he added.
Both teams will now turn their attention to the Red Stripe Twenty20 championship, which is slated to begin early next month.