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West Indies pushed to limit by plucky Papua New Guinea in their T20 World Cup opener

PNG's spinners as well medium pacers did not allow the hard-hitting West Indies batters to cut loose on a slow surface. The tournament co-hosts eventually got home in 19 overs thanks to rearguard action from Roston Chase (42 not out off 27 balls) and Andre Russell (15 off 9).
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 19:02 IST
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 19:02 IST

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Georgetown: Two-time champions West Indies were put under extreme pressure by a plucky Papua New Guinea unit before scraping through with a five-wicket win in their T20 World Cup opener here on Sunday.

Left-hander Sese Bau (50 off 43) made a fine half-century to take PNG to 136 for eight after the associate nation lost their first four wickets for 50 runs.

A power-packed West Indies should have chased down the below-par total comfortably but PNG made them work hard for the win despite their limitations.

PNG's spinners as well medium pacers did not allow the hard-hitting West Indies batters to cut loose on a slow surface. The tournament co-hosts eventually got home in 19 overs thanks to rearguard action from Roston Chase (42 not out off 27 balls) and Andre Russell (15 off 9).

The West Indies' innings was halted for 20 minutes due to rain but there was no loss of overs. The passing shower arrived with the home team at 8 for one in the second over and it would have been two down at the same score had right-arm pacer Alei Nao won a lbw review for the dangerous Nicholas Pooran.

After trapping Johnson Charles off his very first ball, Nao got another one to seam back in from short of length to leave Pooran stranded but luck was on the latter's side. However, his scratchy effort ended when he was caught in the deep off left-arm spinner John Kariko.

PNG skipper Assad Vala made it 63 for three inside 10 overs when he deceived opener Brandon King (34) in flight and had him caught at deep midwicket.

Nerves increased in the West Indies dressing room when it became 97 for five in 16 overs before Chase and Russell got hold of the proceedings.

After PNG were sent in to bat, Bau made instant impact on the big stage with his spirited effort.

PNG, playing their second T20 World Cup, were reeling at 50 for four before Bau shared a 44-run stand with Charles Amini (12) to save them the blushes.

Expecting the pitch to turn, the West Indies picked three spinners and put the opposition in after winning the toss.

The help for the spinners was visible as early as the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein.

However, it was pacer Romario Shepherd who picked the first wicket by having Tony Ura caught behind in the second over of the game. The ball seamed away, inducing a thick edge from the batter.

Hosein got rid of number three Lega Siaka with an arm ball before Alzarri Joseph sent back Vala (21 off 22 balls). Vala came up with a couple of crisp hits in the cover region before being caught brilliantly by Roston Chase at backward point.

Vala's six over extra cover off spinner Chase in the previous over was one of the highlights of PNG's innings.

Bau then ensured that the odd boundary kept coming as PNG tried to consolidate their innings.

Bau, a leftie like Vala, smashed left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie for a six and couple of fours to give the innings much needed momentum.

After his departure, the associate nation did rather well to get close to the 140-run mark.

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Published 02 June 2024, 19:02 IST

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