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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

T20 World Cup 2024: Rescuer Sherfane Rutherford pushes Windies ahead into the Super Eight stage

Left-handed batter smashed half a dozen sixes and two fours for his 39-ball 68 to lift West Indies to 149/9 from 76/7 in 12.3 overs

PTI Tarouba Published 14.06.24, 10:00 AM
West Indies’ Sherfane Rutherford during his innings of 68 not out off 39 balls against New Zealand in Tarouba on Wednesday. Rutherford was adjudged Man of the Match for pulling the Caribbean side, who were 112/9 at one stage, out of trouble

West Indies’ Sherfane Rutherford during his innings of 68 not out off 39 balls against New Zealand in Tarouba on Wednesday. Rutherford was adjudged Man of the Match for pulling the Caribbean side, who were 112/9 at one stage, out of trouble Getty Images

Sherfane Rutherford played the innings of his life to put the West Indies into the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup and warned his rivals that “it is only the start of something big to come”.

Rutherford, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad in IPL 2024, smashed a career-best unbeaten half-century before pacer Alzarri Joseph and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie ripped through the New Zealand line-up to steer the West Indies to a 13-run win.

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The left-handed batter smashed half a dozen sixes and two fours for his 39-ball 68 to lift West Indies to 149/9 from 76/7 in 12.3 overs after New Zealand opted to bowl in a virtual knock-out Group C fixture.

In reply, the West Indies restricted the Black Caps to 136/9, with Rutherford’s fellow Guyanese Motie returning with splendid figures of 3/25. Joseph turned up the heat on the New Zealand lower order to become the wrecker-in-chief with his 4/19.

With three wins in a row, tournament co-hosts West Indies qualified for the Super Eight stage. New Zealand, who had also lost to Afghanistan, are staring at an early exit. Mathematically, they still have a chance, but realistically it’s as good as over. The 2021 runners-up will need to win their remaining two matches by huge margins and also hope that Afghanistan lose their last two games, against Papua New Guinea and the Windies, to think of progressing.

Ecstasy & despair

A delighted Rutherford is hoping that the Windies, the two-time former champions, go the distance this time. “It’s good to get the Q (qualified) in front of our name. Our aim is to play the last game of the tournament (final). So, we’re going to look to keep improving and keep getting better,” Rutherford said.

Speaking about his knock, the 25-year-old said: “I would put it as my best knock. It’s a World Cup, this is my dream. I always wanted to play in the World Cup. I always want to perform in the World Cup. I think this one’s going to stay close to my heart,” he said.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s ploy of using up the pacers upfront brought in disastrous results. The overs of frontline pacers Trent Boult (4-1-16-3) and Lockie Ferguson (4-0-27-2) were exhausted by the 18th over, and Williamson had to rely on medium pacer Daryl Mitchell and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner in the 19th and 20th overs.

Rutherford faced all those 12 balls and plundered 37 runs, including four sixes.

“I think, in T20 cricket nowadays with teams that are batting a lot deeper…you’re always trying to sort of play that game of cat and mouse, I suppose,” Williamson rued.

Brief scores: West Indies 149/9 in 20 ovs (Sherfane Rutherford 68 n.o.; Trent Boult 3/16). New Zealand 136/9 in 20 ovs (Glenn Phillips 40; Alzarri Joseph 4/19, Gudakesh Motie 3/25). West Indies won by 13 runs.

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