West Indies 149 for 9 (Rutherford 68*, Boult 3-16, Southee 2-21) beat New Zealand 136 (Phillips 40, Joseph 4-19, Motie 3-25) by 13 runs.

A sensational rescue effort from Sherfane Rutherford secured a third consecutive victory for the West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2024, edging New Zealand closer to elimination at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba. This win also clinched a spot in the Super Eight for the co-hosts.

New Zealand’s fast bowlers dominated the powerplay, reducing the West Indies to four down early in the innings. Rutherford found little support as West Indies slumped to 112 for 9 after 18 overs. However, he unleashed a flurry of runs in the final two overs, scoring 37 to lift the co-hosts to 149.

With the ball, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, and Akeal Hosein excelled, handing New Zealand their second consecutive defeat.

Rutherford’s Heroics in the Death Overs

Rutherford, facing a rare early entry into the match in the sixth over, struggled initially due to a top-order collapse. He patiently built partnerships with Hosein, Andre Russell, and Romario Shepherd, managing only two boundaries off Mitchell Santner and James Neesham before the final overs.

New Zealand’s strategy of using their best bowlers early backfired, leaving Daryl Mitchell and Santner to bowl the final overs. Rutherford capitalized, hitting three sixes off Mitchell and then targeting Santner with two fours and a six to complete a 33-ball half-century. His 37 runs off the last two overs brought West Indies to a competitive total of 149.

Early Momentum for New Zealand

Finn Allen gave New Zealand a strong start in their chase, despite losing Devon Conway in the third over. Allen’s aggressive batting included boundaries off Shepherd and Hosein, but Joseph’s introduction in the sixth over led to Allen’s dismissal, caught by Russell after being dropped earlier by Rutherford.

Motie and Hosein Restrict New Zealand

Motie was instrumental in stifling New Zealand’s chase, taking the crucial wickets of Williamson, Ravindra, and Mitchell. His effective spin bowling, combined with Hosein’s economical overs, saw the left-arm spinners return figures of 4 for 46 from their eight overs. Roston Chase also contributed with a miserly four-run over.

Joseph’s Crucial Interventions

With New Zealand’s asking rate climbing, Joseph struck key blows, including the vital wicket of Phillips. Despite Phillips’ late surge, hitting boundaries off Russell and Joseph, he ultimately fell to Joseph, who also dismissed Southee to seal the win for West Indies.

Boult’s Early Impact

Trent Boult set the tone early for New Zealand by dismissing Johnson Charles in the first over. Nicholas Pooran briefly steadied the innings, becoming West Indies’ leading T20I run-s

-scorer in the process, but fell to Tim Southee after hitting two boundaries. This triggered a collapse, with West Indies losing four wickets for just ten runs, slumping from 20 for 1 to 30 for 5 in the seventh over.

Mid-Innings Stability and Final Flourish

Akeal Hosein and Sherfane Rutherford then put on a crucial 28-run stand, bringing some stability. Hosein’s dismissal, caught by Neesham off Santner, brought Andre Russell to the crease at No. 8. Russell’s aggressive batting briefly lifted the West Indies, but Boult’s return in the 13th over saw him dismiss Russell and later Shepherd and Joseph with deliveries that kept low.

New Zealand seemed in control with two overs remaining, but Rutherford’s explosive hitting in the final overs dramatically shifted the momentum, energizing the packed Brian Lara Stadium and setting up a defendable total.

In conclusion, Rutherford’s late-innings heroics and the combined efforts of West Indies’ bowlers secured a thrilling 13-run victory, moving the co-hosts into the Super Eight and leaving New Zealand’s campaign hanging by a thread.

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