Clutch West Indies secure Group C progression as Kiwis' T20 World Cup hopes hang by a thread

Sherfane Rutherford helps the West Indies secure a spot in the second round with a mind-blowing knock. It all but ends New Zealand's hopes of progressing.

Joseph, Motie, and Rutherford script dominant West Indies win

Co-hosts the West Indies are officially through to the next stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, pulling off a clutch win over fellow tournament heavyweights New Zealand.

Middle-order bat Sherfane Rutherford was the hero for the home side, producing one of the innings of the tournament to help the West Indies set a strong target.

The Kiwis' hopes of progressing through Group C hang only by a thread – it's the side's second-straight defeat.

Having made three changes to the line-up beaten convincingly by Afghanistan, the Kiwis displayed signs of sharp purpose early. And Trent Boult made it count, forcing Johnson Charles to chop on to end the first over.

Nicholas Pooran rode some luck for three quick boundaries, becoming the West Indies’ highest T20I run-getter, moving past Chris Gayle. But New Zealand took ascendancy, forcing Pooran and then Roston Chase to both top edge straight to catchers.

The wicket of captain Rovman Powell capped off a dominant Powerplay for the Kiwis – 23/4 at the six-over mark with bowler Tim Southee picking up two of the scalps.

West Indies lost four wickets in the Powerplay.

It was left for the hosts’ middle and lower order to pick up the pieces when opener Brandon King’s dismissal became the Black Caps’ fifth blow with the ball.

Rutherford and Akeal Hosein took some initiative, combining for a sixth wicket stand of 28 runs off 27 balls. Hosein made 15 off 17 before departing.

Andre Russell kept the West Indies’ total climbing slowly, chipping in for a quick-fire 14 off seven balls, including a six. Russell was one of Boult's four wickets, who finished with impressive figures of 4/16.

But Rutherford managed to hang around, anchoring his side’s pursuit of a competitive total. And the fight paid off big time for the 25-year-old.

Rutherford turned the final five overs into his own ‘Powerplay’ of sorts, blasting five sixes and two fours. He brought up his 50 on the final ball of the 19th over and pounded 18 runs off the final six deliveries as Mitchell Santner had no answers with the ball.

The Guyanese slugger produced one of the innings of the tournament so far, registering an unbeaten 68 off 39 balls. Rutherford scored all 37 runs in the closing partnership with Gudakesh Motie, which became a new 10th wicket record in ICC T20 World Cup history.

The Sherfane Rutherford show

Devon Conway was out cheaply, as momentum stuck with the hosts at the start of the new innings. But Finn Allen was determined to ensure New Zealand’s Powerplay went more smoothly than the Windies’.

He made 26 off 23 before finding Russell at deep backward square leg, as the Black Caps finished the first six overs at 36/2.

It was unclear if anyone in New Zealand’s line-up would source some Rutherford-like form, as Kane Williamson (1 off 2) and Rachin Ravindra's (10 off 13) efforts both stalled cheaply.

And the hosts officially had the Black Caps on the ropes when Motie ripped one straight past the outside of Daryl Mitchell’s bat, taking the top of middle stump with a scorching ball.

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With five overs to go, New Zealand required 65 runs for victory, as Glenn Phillips and James Neesham went about rebuilding momentum. But hope further faded next ball as Alzarri Joseph forced Neesham to sky one – Brandon King showed a safe pair of hands when the ball finally made it back down.

It was all on Phillips to pull off a miracle chase for the Black Caps, who struck four key boundaries to help grow optimism.

But Joseph’s lethal spell continued, beating another batter for pace. Phillips put one high and Powell was underneath it, forcing the 27-year-old to depart for 40 off 33.

Joseph’s 4/19 and Motie’s 3/25 made sure the hosts maintained control in the field.

And despite Santner’s best efforts, slugging a 21* off 12 at the death, the West Indies officially booked their spot in the second round with a 13-run win – New Zealand’s innings finished 136/9 off 20 overs.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024NewsICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024West Indies vs New Zealand - Group