BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Leeward Islands Hurricanes laid waste to a 33-year-old record by executing the highest successful run chase in the history of the modern first class championship, as they shocked two-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars by four wickets here Monday.
Set what appeared to be an improbable victory target of 369 on Sunday’s penultimate day, Hurricanes batted imperiously to reach their target at 5:07 pm 0n the final day with 21 balls left in the contest at Warner Park, to register their first win over Jaguars in 2-1/2 years.
The monumental effort was spearheaded by opener Montcin Hodge who stroked 114 – his second first class hundred – while Jamaican Nkrumah Bonner hammered an up tempo 82 off 114 balls and opener and captain, Kieran Powell, 54.
Wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton came at the end to unleash a cameo unbeaten 49 from 43 deliveries and it was he who hit the winning runs, smashing left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie over long on for six to end the game in style.
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul claimed four for 109.
The effort by Hurricanes eclipsed the previous best run chase back in 1983 when Windward Islands overhauled 368 to beat Trinidad and Tobago by two wickets at Queen’s Park Oval.
For the Hurricanes, it was their first win of the new Regional Four-Day Championship season following their draw against Barbados Pride in the opening round here last week and represents one of their best starts to a first class campaign in recent years, after a tough last few seasons.
Jaguars, meanwhile, saw their unbeaten streak finally broken, as the loss was their first in 19 outings.
Resuming the day on 47 without loss and requiring a further 322 for victory, Hurricanes were propelled by three vital partnerships.
Hodge extended his first wicket stand with Powell to 93 and added a superb 145 for the fourth wicket with Bonner – a partnership that set up the win.
And when Hurricanes lost three wickets for 23 runs in the final session, Hamilton and Jeremiah Louis – who was unbeaten on 26 at the end – combined in an unbroken 63-run, seventh wicket partnership to seal the result.
Hodge and Powell set the tone early on, carrying Hurricanes safely through the first hour to frustrate Jaguars.
The right-handed Hodge, starting the day on 26, faced 287 deliveries in just over 6-1/2 hours and counted ten fours and a six while Powell, unbeaten on 20 at the start, faced 113 balls in just over 2-3/4 hours at the crease and struck five fours and a six.
Powell eventually holed out in the deep off Permaul and Akeem Saunders followed soon afterwards for ten, stumped trying to use his feet to the same bowler.
Hodge put on 32 with left-hander Chesney Hughes (23) in a stand that took Hurricanes to lunch on 134 for two and when Hughes fell in the fourth over following the resumption, it paved the way for Hodge and Bonner to entertain.
The right-handed Bonner was positive from the outset, stroking three fours in three hours at the crease and his enterprise saw Hurricanes reach tea at 236 without further loss.
Hodge reached triple figures in the fifth over after the break before finally departing, missing a charge at Permaul and going stumped. Even then, however, Hurricanes kept their focus and Bonner and Hamilton ensured there was no disappointment late on.