West Indies into Super Eight, winless NZ face early exit

June 13, 2024 4:13 pm

[Source: Reuters]

West Indies batsman Sherfane Rutherford transformed a match his team appeared doomed to lose to New Zealand on Wednesday with a scintillating unbeaten 68 from 39 balls to propel the home side into the T20 World Cup Super Eight stage.

The co-hosts recovered from 30 for five in the seventh over at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy to reach a competitive 149 for nine on a tricky surface following heavy rain.

Glenn Phillips struck 40 from 33 balls and Mitchell Santner lofted three sixes in the final over for New Zealand but a slow start meant they eventually fell short by 13 runs.

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After being asked to bat, West Indies were in dire straits before Rutherford salvaged their fortunes with an exhibition of uninhibited stroke play, lofting six sixes into an exuberant crowd dancing to both his strokes and the steel drums.

The New Zealanders, who entered the game short of both form and match practice after losing by 84 runs to Afghanistan in their first match, made an excellent start.

Left-arm paceman Trent Boult dismissed Johnson Charles for a duck when the opener dragged a full delivery onto his stumps, and his new ball partner Tim Southee had Nicholas Pooran caught for 17, wicketkeeper Devon Conway making the catch turning and running backwards.

Roston Chase lasted only three balls before he was caught for a duck off Lockie Ferguson’s first over and Southee struck again with the wicket of Rovman Powell, caught by Conway for one.

Andre Russell restored the crowd’s high spirits with 14 from a Ferguson over and Kane Williamson immediately recalled Boult, who responded by dismissing him caught with a ball which the batsman completely mistimed.

Boult then ended a bright partnership by clean bowling Alzarri Joseph for six in this final over to finish with three for 16.

The crowd were temporarily silenced but recovered their voices as Rutherford, ably supported by the tailenders, went on the attack, lofting Daryl Mitchell for three consecutive sixes before taking 20 off the final over from Santner.

New Zealand were soon struggling, losing quick wickets including Williamson (1) caught at slip from his second ball attempting a cut off left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.

Motie then dismissed Rachin Ravindra, one of three changes to the New Zealand side, for 10 and followed up by bowling Mitchell for 12, before Phillips and then Santner gave the visitors some hope but it was to prove too little and too late.