Rutherford Steers West Indies into Super 8

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West Indies 49 for 9 (Rutherford 68 not out, Boult 3 for 6, Southee 2 for 21 beat New Zealan (Phillips 40, Joseph 4 for 19, Motie 3 for 6) by 13 runs

By Prior Beharry

TAROUBA – A career-best unbeaten 68 by Sherfane Rutherford was the foundation of the West Indies innings that guarantees them a place in the Super Eight of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup.

This was his highest T20I score and showed his composure to come in when the score was 30 for five and stayed to the end to see the Caribbean side to 149 for nine in their allotted 20 overs.

Batting with number 11 Gudakesh Motie, Rutherford scored all 37 runs from the last 12 balls he faced in the 13-ball partnership. He and Akeal Hosein put on 28 for the sixth wicket. Romario Shepherd chipped in with 13 in another tail-end partnership of 27 with Rutherford.

Losing four wickets in the Power Play was always going to be a game-changer; Johnson Charles in the first over, failing to trouble the scorers, Nicholas Pooran for 17, Roston Chase for duck and captain Rovman Powell for 1, silenced the sold-out crowd at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Wednesday evening.

Pooran has now surpassed Chris Gayle as the leading run-scorer for West Indies in men’s T20Is. He has 1,914 runs in front of Gayle (1,899), Marlon Samuels (1,611) Kieron Pollard (1,569) and Lendl Simmons (1,527).

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Spectators called for more rain that fell heavily over the past two days in Trinidad. No rain but a lot of Saharan dust didn’t dampen the ability of Rutherford.

His 68 off 39 balls couldn’t come at a better time for the West Indies needing only a win to qualify for the Super Eight, playing an unchanged side.

New Zealand, on the other hand, made three changes coming into the first T20 World Cup game in Trinidad. It will be West Indies’ only one in the most southerly isle of the Caribbean unless they feature in the first semi-finals at the same venue on June 26.

James Neesham, Rachim Ravindra and Tim Southee came in for Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell and Matt Henry as the Kiwi struggled to make it to the net round.

When Hosein got Devon Conway for five in the third over, fans recalled his best figures of five for 11 versus Uganda on Saturday. He ended his four overs at the halfway mark of the New Zealand innings with 21 for 1.

Daryl Mitchell is bowled by Gudakesh Motie

With Glenn Phillips and James Neesham at the crease, New Zealand had expectations that they were to get two points. Having already lost to Afghanistan meant they were in a must-win situation.

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A critical drop catch by Charles on the mid-wicket boundary gave Neesham a reprieve. The first ball of the 14th over by Romario Shepherd went right through the hands of a lackadaisical-looking Johnson and went for six.

Alzarri Joseph was introduced in the sixth over and was unfortunate to have Finn Allen dropped by the tournament co-hosts hero of the moment Rutherford. One ball later Allen held out to Andre Ruseell at deep square leg.

New Zealand celebrate the wicket of Nicholas Pooran

Motie had instant success in his first over with the scalp of skipper Kane Williamson. Ravindra was his next victim, but it was the Guyanese third wicket that was his crowning moment. The last ball of his third over pitched on leg and middle and did enough to take the off stump’s bail of Daryl Mitchell. It was 63 for 5 by then.

Joseph gave ample support with four wickets for 19 runs in his allotted overs, demolishing the tail-enders.

The result means that New Zealand have a mathematical chance to make it to the Super Eight. They need Afghanistan (who already beat them) to lose their next two games against Papua New Guinea tonight at the same venue and against West Indies in St Lucia; and of course the Kiwis need to win their remaining two matches versus Uganda and PNG.


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