ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Rutherford, Joseph Lead West Indies to Victory Over NZ

ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Rutherford, Joseph Lead West Indies to Victory Over NZ
Sherfane Rutherford's explosive unbeaten 68 and Alzarri Joseph's four-wicket haul ensured West Indies secured a place in the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup with a 13-run victory over New Zealand. Having won all three matches in Group C, West Indies will now play Afghanistan in their final group match. Meanwhile, New Zealand are in danger of elimination from the tournament after suffering two consecutive defeats.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson elected to bowl first after winning the toss, opting to put the co-hosts on the batting crease. West Indies faced a challenging beginning as New Zealand's pacers quickly reduced them to 30/5 in 6.3 overs. Nonetheless, Sherfane Rutherford showcased resilience, crafting an unbeaten innings of 68 runs from 39 deliveries to set a competitive target despite regular wickets falling at the other end.
Rutherford's quickfire innings was laced with six maximums and two fours as the batter got brief support from Akeal Hosein (15), Andre Russell (14), Romario Shepherd (13), and Alzarri Joseph (6) in the end. Rutherford's masterclass enabled West Indies to post a respectable target of 149/9 in 20 overs at Brian Lara Stadium.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult returned with the figures of 3-16 while Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson bagged two scalps each. In reply, opener Devon Conwoy (5) departed cheaply as Hosein provided the early breakthrough in the third over. However, Finn Allen aimed to change the tide, scoring 26 off 23 before being caught by Andre Russell. Despite Allen's effort, New Zealand ended the powerplay at 36/2.
The possibility of someone replicating Rutherford's performance was uncertain as both Williamson (1 off 2) and Rachin Ravindra (10 off 13) struggled to make an impact. The hosts further tightened their grip when Gudakesh Motie bowled Daryl Mitchell (12) with a delivery that clipped the top of the middle stump. With five overs remaining, New Zealand needed 65 runs to win, with Glenn Phillips and James Neesham tasked with rebuilding. However, Neesham's dismissal by Joseph dented their hopes further. Phillips fought hard, striking four boundaries to instill some optimism.
But Joseph continued to dominate, claiming another wicket with his pace. Phillips eventually fell for 40 off 33 balls, caught by Rovman Powell off Joseph's bowling. Joseph's 4-19 and Motie's 3-25 kept the hosts in control. Despite Mitchell Santner's late effort of 21 not out off 12 balls, the West Indies secured a 13-run victory, confirming their spot in the second round. New Zealand's innings concluded at 136/9 after 20 overs.
Source: IANS