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Rutherford and bowlers take West Indies to Super Eight; New Zealand’s campaign in trouble

West Indies 149 for 9 (Rutherford 68*, Boult 3-16, Southee 2-21) beat New Zealand (Phillips 40, Joseph 4-19, Motie 3-25) by 13 runs

A sensational rescue effort from Sherfane Rutherford set up a third win on the trot for West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2024 while putting New Zealand on the verge of elimination at the Brian Lara stadium in Tarouba. With the win, the co-hosts have also secured a spot in the Super Eight.

New Zealand’s fast bowlers dictated proceedings in the powerplay to have West Indies four down in the first innings. Rutherford found little support as West Indies slid to 112 for 9 after 18 overs, but he plundered 37 runs off the last two overs to take the co-hosts to 149.

Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, and Akeal Hosein then stepped up with the ball, as New Zealand slumped to their second defeat in as many games.

Rutherford stands tall at the death

Rutherford found himself in unfamiliar territory thanks to West Indies’ top-order collapse, coming in to bat in the sixth over. Only for the second time in his T20I career, he faced a ball in the powerplay. But he vied his time in his partnerships with Hosein, Andre Russell, and Romario Shepherd. For long, his only two boundary shots were two sixes off drag-downs from Mitchell Santner and James Neesham before he finally let loose in the last two overs.

New Zealand took a gambit in using up their best frontline bowlers early and ended up giving Daryl Mitchell the penultimate over and Santner the last.

The plan nearly paid off, with West Indies having just one wicket in hand after the 18th over. But Rutherford resisted as he first tore into Mitchell, hitting him for back-to-back sixes down the V’ before depositing the ball over the fine-leg fence for a third six in the over.

He then hit Santner for two fours and a majestic six slog-swept from wide of off over wide long-on, on the way to a 33-ball half-century. The 37 runs off the last two overs helped take West Indies to 149, which seemed unattainable for almost all of their innings.

Allen attacks in the powerplay

Finn Allen helped New Zealand gain early momentum in the chase, despite losing Devon Conway in the third over. Allen got going by pulling Shepherd behind square for a boundary in the second over before hoisting Hosein over cow corner. Hosein then had Conway caught at fine leg as he top-edged while trying to sweep, done in by the extra bounce. Allen then flicked Russell behind square and cut Hosein for two more fours.

Joseph, introduced in the sixth over, drew a leading edge off him only for Rutherford to drop him running back from point. But one ball later, Allen miscued a pull to Russell at deep square leg.

Motie ties New Zealand down

Motie struck in his first over, getting Williamson to nick behind trying to cut, as West Indies grabbed two wickets in two overs. In his next over, he had Rachin Ravindra – who came in to bat at No. 3 – hole out to deep midwicket. In his third over, Motie knocked Mitchell over with a peach that pitched on middle and spun past the outside edge to crash into the stumps.

Between Motie and Hosein, West Indies’ left-arm spinners had combined figures of 4 for 46 from their eight overs, while offspinner Roston Chase bowled a four-run over.

Joseph stops Phillips’ charge

The spin choke saw New Zealand’s asking rate swell When Neesham fell to Joseph, New Zealand needed 65 off 29 deliveries. Phillips then tried to force the issue, hitting Russell for a four and a six before pulling Joseph for back-to-back boundaries in the 18th over. However, Joseph had the last laugh as Phillips tried to pull again and skied a catch to long-on running in.

Joseph then had Southee caught off his bowling to finish with a four-wicket haul, effectively sealing the win for West Indies.

Boult triggers WI’s top-order collapse

At the start of the game, it was Trent Boult who made heads turn early. After asking West Indies to bat, New Zealand got a first-over breakthrough courtesy of Boult’s wicket of Johnson Charles, who chopped one onto his stumps.

Nicholas Pooran walked out to loud applause, and it took him three balls to get West Indies’ first boundary with a leading edge past short third. The boundary also took Pooran past Chris Gayle to become the leading run-scorer for West Indies in men’s T20Is.

Then followed a game of cat-and-mouse between Pooran and Tim Southee, who was among three changes New Zealand made from the side that lost to Afghanistan last week.

In a sequence of four balls, Pooran hit two fours, was dropped by Mitchell between the two boundary shots, and then fell to the seamer. Pooran tried to take Southee on for a third boundary in the over as the bowler dug in a short ball but skied it to wicketkeeper Conway running behind a swirling ball.

Pooran was the first of four wickets that West Indies lost in the space of ten runs. Chase fell for a duck, miscuing Lockie Ferguson, and Southee had Rovman Powell edging behind. From 20 for 1, they were soon 30 for 5, when Brandon King departed in the seventh over.

The Boult v Russell battle

Then came a 28-run stand for the sixth wicket between Akeal Hosein and Rutherford that briefly stabilised their innings. A sharp catch by Neesham at midwicket off Santner’s bowling ended Hosein’s stay, and Russell came at No. 8.

Russell was immediately on the front foot, hitting Ferguson for two fours and a six. Williamson brought Boult back in the next over, the 13th of the innings, and the move paid off as Russell first missed an attempted hoick across the line and then top-edged a catch to short third.

Ferguson and Boult then dismissed Shepherd and Joseph with deliveries that stayed low, and with two overs to go, New Zealand was the happier side. But they were not prepared for Rutherford to single-handedly change the game’s course and handed West Indies the momentum at the break, helped also by the energy of a packed Brian Lara Stadium.

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