Image Source : GETTY West Indies players celebrating against PNG in the T20 World Cup 2024 match in Guyana on June 2, 2024

West Indies kicked off their ICC T20 World Cup 2024 campaign with a hard-fought five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in Gayana on Sunday, June 2. The tournament co-hosts struggled against low-ranked PNG while chasing a 136-run target but walked away with two big points. 

After thrashing Australia in their last warm-up game, the Caribbean side raised fans’ expectations but were not able to display a similar intent against PNG. Bowlers impressed with Andre Russell and Alzarri Joseph taking two wickets each to restrict PNG to a 137/5 total.

Sese Babu top-scored with 50 runs off 43 runs to become the only second PNG player to record a fifty in T20 World Cup history. West Indies batters also struggled for quick runs and lost the first three wickets with just 63 runs on the scoreboard in the first 10 overs.

But Roston Chase’s unbeaten 42 off 27 powered the Caribbean side to a hard-fought win with just six balls remaining. Skipper Assad Vala took two wickets for 28 while Alei Nao bagged one for nine in his early two-over spell.

Earlier in the game, Romario Shepherd gave West Indies a brilliant start with the big wicket of Tony Ura in the second over. Spinners Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie both started and bowled impressive spells with a wicket each. 

Sese Bau and the wicketkeeper batter Kiplin Doriga added crucial 44 runs for the fifth wicket to put PNG on a track for a fighting total but West Indies made a brilliant late comeback. 

The hosts lost opener Johnson Charles in the second over and that helped PNG build an early pressure. In-form Nicholas Pooran notably played 16 dots balls as he scored 27 runs off 27 balls to give PNG a chance to balance the game.

But spin all-rounder Roston Chase and Russell added unbeaten 40 runs for the sixth wicket with the former top-scoring with 42 runs off 27 balls to lead West Indies to the triumph. Chase also bagged the Player of the Match award for his brilliant knock.

Match Scorecard

Papua New Guinea Playing XI: Tony Ura, Assad Vala (c), Sese Bau, Lega Siaka, Hiri Hiri, Charles Amini, Kiplin Doriga (wk), Alei Nao, Chad Soper, Kabua Morea, John Kariko.

West Indies Playing XI: Johnson Charles, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell (c), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie.

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