Rutherford, Motie and Joseph power West Indies to Super 8s

PC – ICC. Rutherford cracked a game-breaking innings

Sherfane Rurtherford’s game-breaking 68, alongside redoubtable efforts from Alzarri Joseph and Gudakesh Motie with the ball, proved to be the difference between the West Indies and New Zealand, as the T20 World Cup co-hosts sealed a crucial 13-run win in Trinidad. Despite some late-order heroics by Mitchell Santner, New Zealand finished with 136 in a chase of 150. With this victory, the West Indies have qualified for the Super 8s, while New Zealand are on the brink of making an ignominious exit. 

After seven overs, things seemed to be different. New Zealand’s experienced pace duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult had ripped through West Indies’ batting unit to leave them precariously placed at 30 for 5. It soon became 58 for 6 and 76 for 7 when the dangerous Andre Russell fell to Boult. Just when it seemed as if New Zealand had gained pole position, Rutherford lifted the home side’s sagging spirits. 

The best part of Rutherford’s innings was how he also showcased the required tactical nous to pick the right bowlers to up the ante. In the penultimate over, when Daryl Mitchell was introduced into the attack, he lofted, whipped and pulled the medium-pacer for three sixes. And that was followed by Rutherford smacking for two boundaries and a six while facing Santner; a match-up that suited the left-handed batter. Incidentally, Rutherford scored all 37 runs in a stand with Motie, the last man.

The West Indies’ bowlers backed up Rutherford’s sterling innings by taking wickets at regular intervals. Joseph ran through the lower middle order by dismissing Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham and Tim Southee. On the other hand, Motie had the better of New Zealand’s middle order – Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson and Mitchell. The highlight of Motie’s spell was the peach he bowled to Mitchell – from wide of the crease, he got it to drift in and beat Mitchell’s attempted drive to hit top of off. 

Along with Motie and Joseph, Russell and Akeal Hosein also made their presence felt by taking a wicket each. In the last over, Santner struck three sixes off Romario Shepherd but he had too much to do as New Zealand slipped to their second loss of the tournament.