Chase Leads West Indies to Tense Victory Over Papua New Guinea in T20 World Cup 2024

West Indies, the co-hosts of the T20 World Cup 2024, secured a jittery five-wicket victory over a spirited Papua New Guinea (PNG), thanks to Roston Chase’s unbeaten 42 off 27 balls.

Chasing 137, West Indies were five wickets down, needing 40 runs from 24 balls, when Chase’s composed innings guided them home.

Chase Leads West Indies to Tense Victory Over Papua New Guinea in T20 World Cup 2024
Akeal Hosein grabs a wicket •ICC via Getty Images

Papua New Guinea 136 for 8 (Bau 50, Russell 2-19) lost to West Indies 137 for 5 (Chase 42*, Vala 2-28) by five wickets.

Although West Indies, the co-hosts of the T20 World Cup 2024, did not enjoy the kind of assured start to the tournament that they had hoped for, they managed to avoid adding to an embarrassing record of upsets in a format that they had previously dominated. In Providence, Guyana, Papua New Guinea nearly forced the match to a fifth over, but Roston Chase’s unbeaten 42 off 27 proved to be the game-winning stroke.

After Sherfane Rutherford was removed by PNG captain Assad Vala at the conclusion of the 16th over, the West Indies were down five and required 40 from the final 24 deliveries. But Andre Russell’s departure at No. 7 served as a reminder of the challenges facing the Associate nation, which was participating in just its second T20 World Cup. Russell, who last week won the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders, dutifully hit his fourth ball into the stands to raise the required total from 18 to 31.

After he had steadied the batting as wickets were falling all around him, Chase then accelerated through the gears. The No. 4 player for the West Indies, who is favored above Shimron Hetmyer in the lineup, took a six and two fours off Vala in the eighteenth over, and then he dismissed Kabua Morea for back-to-back boundaries to put the win within reach.

That meant that PNG, who had former West Indies World Cup winning coach Phil Simmons serving as a consultant and watching from the sidelines, almost missed out on taking a first-ever scalp at this level. As they reached the midway mark of their innings at 57 for 4, it appeared as though their best chance of avoiding humiliation was gone.

However, Sese Bau’s half-century and a valiant lower-order blow from Kiplin Doriga gave them something to bowl at. If they had opted to examine an appeal against Nicholas Pooran, who made 27 contributions to the chase, prior to his goal, West Indies’ vulnerability could have been revealed once more.

At first, everything went according to plan for the co-hosts, who were beginning their quest for a third T20 championship. After winning the toss, Powell decided to put PNG in for the early start in Providence, citing the “inclement weather around and also a fresh wicket”. Tony Ura and Vala failed to put bat on ball during the opening over, which was bowled by Akeal Hosein, who went on to give up just one run. It was evident how big of a task PNG faced.

As expected, the West Indies made progress. In the second over, Ura edged past Romario Shepherd, and Hosein’s second valid delivery, which swung back through the gate to hit middle and off, destroyed Lega Siaka.

Vala struggled to get going after crawling to 5 off 10, but he eventually got going, lifting Chase for a commanding six and hitting Alzarri Joseph for two fours in three balls before falling to the final ball of the powerplay, which saw Joseph exact revenge after Chase made an incredible diving catch, leaving PNG at 34 for 3.

Also Read: Carlos Brathwaite’s Epic 6, 6, 6, 6 Sequence: West Indies’ World T20 Triumph vs England

Chase Leads West Indies to Tense Victory Over Papua New Guinea in T20 World Cup 2024
Roston Chase smashed 42 off 27 balls •ICC via Getty Images

In the fourth over, Bau hit his first boundary of the day, sending Russell hurtling back down the field. He then proceeded to play with confidence, guiding his team away from catastrophe and toward a respectable total. Hosein discovered the rope by doing a reverse sweep, and he then skipped down to loft Chase through long-off.

Even though Hiri Hiri was caught at slip by Gudakesh Motie’s fourth delivery, reverse-sweeping, cost Bau another partner, the PNG innings’ highest fifth-wicket stand came with Amini, 44 runs to 44.

Following a few overs of stabilization, Bau lost to Motie, hitting the spinner for four and six off successive deliveries that went down the ground and over wide long-on. He then added another boundary through the covers to raise PNG’s run rate to one run per ball. He nearly reached his half-century mark with a top-edged four off Joseph, but Amini nipped behind Russell to deny him the opportunity.

The next over saw Bau achieve a fifty off 42 balls, which was a record for a PNG hitter in T20 World Cups and a record against a Full Member team in T20Is. However, a slower ball from Joseph eventually upset him, leaving his side 98 for 6 in the 17th over.

Doriga and a careless finish from the West Indies attack were major reasons why PNG was able to add 38 runs from the final 21 balls of the innings. Even though a Joseph delivery nipped off stump without upsetting the bails, dismissing Doriga for 1 off 6 balls, the PNG wicketkeeper continued to combine tireless running with the occasional hearty thwack to finish undefeated on 27 from 18.

Shepherd, Russell, and Joseph all gave up runs in the closing moments; the latter struck two consecutive fours at the beginning of the twentieth before stepping on what should have been the last ball.

At the beginning of this run chase, anyone who has followed the West Indies’ recent struggles in ICC competitions—a miserable T20 World Cup defense in 2021, a disastrous 2022 elimination from a group that included Ireland, Scotland, and Zimbabwe, and failure to even qualify for the 50-over World Cup last year—would have felt a familiar sense of trepidation creeping over them.

On his World Cup debut, Alei Nao struck with his first ball, pinning Johnson Charles for a golden duck. However, as the rain began to fall, he mishandled one back into Pooran’s pads, ending his innings.

PNG chose not to challenge umpire Rashid Riaz’s decision to declare the game over, and they were promptly informed of their error as the players left the field for a 20-minute break. Ball tracking indicated that the ball would have reached the top of the middle stump with sufficient certainty to be reversed.

Nao completed a wicket maiden on the restart, and with Pooran finding it difficult to maintain rhythm, the West Indies were only able to make progress because Brandon King consistently hit boundaries (he scored seven fours in his first 28 runs). At the beginning of the sixth over, Pooran, who was on 5 from 15 balls, smashed Bau’s offspin for 6-4-6, and the West Indies surged to finish the powerplay on 52 for 1, looked comfortably positioned.

Chase Leads West Indies to Tense Victory Over Papua New Guinea in T20 World Cup 2024
As the rain pours, Alei Nao makes his appeal against Nicholas Pooran •ICC/Getty Images

Even after that violent outburst, Pooran never really got comfortable and at the beginning of the ninth over, he chipped John Kariko to long-on, being the second wicket to fall. Then Vala came on to spin it from both ends, and King’s attempt to unshackle himself ended up in deep midwicket’s hands.

West Indian nerves started to fray again as Vala bowled the second wicket-maiden of the innings, and by the end of the 13th over, they were 77 for 3, having amassed 25 runs from 42 balls outside the powerplay.

Despite boldly reviewing after being ruled out caught behind, West Indies captain Rovman Powell was dismissed in the same over despite hitting a much-needed boundary off Chad Soper.

With his first boundary coming from his fifteenth ball, Chase popped above the parapet to slog-sweep Charles Amini for six. However, in the next over, Vala had Rutherford caught behind, with Doriga clutching the ball between his legs, gloves, and body, leaving West Indies at 97 for 5 and struggling to avert a major upset.

Papua New Guinea’s Valiant Effort Falls Short in T20 World Cup Opener Against West Indies

Papua New Guinea (PNG) showcased their growing prowess in the competitive world of associate cricket, coming close to an upset in their T20 World Cup 2024 opener against the West Indies. Despite falling short, PNG’s performance highlighted their potential and determination as they played only their eighth match against a Full Member team.

Match Highlights:

  • Competitive Total: PNG managed a total of 136, recovering from a shaky 34 for 3, thanks to a crucial 43-ball 50 by Sese Bau and a late surge by Kiplin Doriga, who scored 27 off 18 balls.
  • West Indies’ Struggle: At 97 for 5 in 16 overs, West Indies were under pressure, but Andre Russell and Roston Chase steered them to victory.

Vala’s Leadership and Reflections

Captain Assad Vala took two key wickets, giving PNG a glimpse of a historic victory. Reflecting on the game, Vala mentioned that a few more runs could have made a significant difference.

Key Performances and Turning Points

  • Early Breakthroughs: Fast bowler Ale Nao dismissed Johnson Charles on the first ball, and John Kariko’s disciplined bowling added to the pressure on West Indies.
  • Missed Opportunities: PNG missed an opportunity to dismiss Nicholas Pooran, who later contributed to the West Indies’ recovery.
  • Vala’s Wickets: Vala’s dismissal of Brandon King and Sherfane Rutherford brought PNG back into the game, but West Indies’ depth proved decisive.

Positives and Learning Experiences

Vala praised Sese Bau’s batting and John Kariko’s bowling, emphasizing the numerous positives from the match. He also acknowledged the need to improve their use of technology, citing an instance where a missed review of Pooran’s wicket could have altered the game’s outcome.

While PNG fell short of an upset, their performance in the T20 World Cup opener against the West Indies was a testament to their growth and potential. With a focus on refining their skills and decision-making, PNG is poised to continue challenging higher-ranked teams in the future.

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