T&T on the verge of thumping win
Windward Islands 131 and 102 for 7 (Mohammed 4-31) need a further 439 runs to beat Trinidad and Tobago 255 and 416 (Ganga 161, Lewis 5-108)
It will be nothing more than a formality for Trinidad and Tobago when they return to Guaracara Park to wrap up their Carib Beer Cup semi-final against the Windward Islands.
Facing a mammoth target of 541, due to T&T's second innings total of 416, a batting collapse saw Windwards tottering at 102 for 7 at the end of the third day. A sparkling 161 by Daren Ganga, the T&T captain, and late wickets for Amit Jaggernauth and Dave Mohammed made sure that T&T ended the day on the brink of an outright victory and a berth in next weekend's final.
Mohammed gave an impressive allround performance, scoring 43 not out in a 51-run ninth wicket partnership with his captain, before returning to rip the heart out of the Windwards batting with figures of 4 for 31 off nine overs.
Devon Smith, the Windwards opener, looked formidable, slamming six fours in his 33, but when Mohammed had him trapped in front leg-before, the Windwards folded easier than fresh linen. Mohammed also removed Junior Murray, the hard-hitting wicketkeeper for 17 via a midwicket catch by Ganga, as well as Darren Sammy (4) and bowled Dennis George (4). Jaggernauth grabbed the important wicket of Craig Emmanuel (21), caught by Sherwin Ganga at leg slip, and gave Dillon a simple catch at mid-on to dismiss Alvin La Feuille.
With T&T already firmly in the driver's seat overnight in their second innings at 171 for 3, Ganga made sure there was no room for the visitors to claw their way back into the match, slamming a century that included 16 fours and a six. He and Jason Mohammed started slowly, pushing the score along to 185, before an impatient Mohammed, attempting to go over the top, looped Rawl Lewis, the Windwards captain, to Butler at mid-off to depart for 20.
Denesh Ramdin joined his captain and, looking to make amends for his first innings duck, got off the mark with a cut to the left of gully that crashed into the boundary. In the first hour, T&T had only managed 36 runs, but Ganga stepped up the scoring after the drinks break, smashing George to the square-leg fence and Sammy over backward point for four.
Ramdin survived an lbw appeal and Ganga had a close call with another appeal for a catch at silly mid-off. But he responded with successive fours off Smith, hoisting him over long-on and then driving to the cover boundary, before clouting Liam Sebastien for another boundary to move into the 90s.
A miscued sweep from Ramdin gifted the visitors their fifth wicket, Lewis taking the catch off Sebastien at slip, with the score at 266. Richard Kelly joined Ganga at the crease and the pair took the score to 277 at the lunch break, with the captain needing just a single to reach his tenth regional century.
After tea, Ganga pushed to mid-off to bring up his century as he and Kelly looked to accelerate. Sebastien was replaced by Lewis mid-way through the over, and immediately had Kelly caught at the mid-wicket boundary for 17. Reyad Emrit and Dillon fell soon after, and at 338 for 8, Mohammed took the attack to the bowlers. He was left stranded, seven short of his half-century, after Jaggernauth was bowled for three.