Nervy West Indies start T20 World Cup with 5-wicket win over PNG Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

PROVIDENCE, Guyana (AP) — Co-host West Indies scrapped to a nervy five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea (PNG) as the Twenty20 World Cup held its first match in the Caribbean on Sunday.

On Saturday, co-host United States enjoyed a seven-wicket win over Canada in the opening cricket match of the tournament in Grand Prairie, Texas.

PNG spinners restrained their opponents’ power-hitters but it wasn’t enough as West Indies reached a sub-par target of 137-5 with one over to spare.

Sese Bau had earlier become only the second PNG batter to score a half century at a T20 World Cup. His 50-run knock lifted the team to 136-8 after 20 overs after West Indies captain Rovman Powell had won the toss and elected to field on a spin-friendly wicket.

“Credit has to be given to PNG, their plans were simple and they played good cricket,” Powell said.

PNG didn’t allow West Indies to run away with the chase and had the hosts worried at 97-5 in 16 overs. Roston Chase made an unbeaten 42 off 27 balls and carried the team home.

“It was a competitive score but we believe we missed a trick towards the end,” PNG skipper Assad Vala said. “Another 10-15 runs would have been nice.”

Fast bowler Alei Nao had West Indies opener Johnson Charles trapped leg before wicket off his first ball for a duck and could have got key batter Nicholas Pooran lbw two balls later, but PNG decided not to go for television referral before rain briefly took the players off the field in the second over.

On resumption, Brandon King (34) and Pooran (27) shared a 53-run stand before both fell in successive overs while trying to push the scoring rate as they holed out in the outfield against the spin of John Kariko (1-17) and Vala (2-28).

Powell (15) and Sherfane Rutherford (2) struggled to counterattack the spinners before getting caught behind cheaply and gave PNG a rare sniff but Chase kept a cool head and didn’t let the game slip away.

“I knew from our first innings bowling, it was always hard for batsmen coming in to start,” Chase said. “To start the tournament with a win is always good. I had to take it home for the team, and I did it.”

Earlier, Bau’s fourth T20 half century gave PNG’s total some respectability after the top-order collapsed to 34-3 inside the first six overs of batting power play as left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein got appreciable turn off the wicket from ball one.

Romario Shepherd struck off his fifth ball when Tony Ura edged behind and Hosein sliced through the defense of Lega Siaka off a delivery that turned sharply into the right-handed batter.

Vala struck Alzarri Joseph (2-34) for two boundaries before he was splendidly caught at backward point by Chase in an eventful power play for the home team. PNG further slipped to 50-4 in the ninth over when Gudakesh Motie struck in his first over as Hiri Hiri reverse swept the spinner before Bau and Charles Amini (12) combined in a 44-run stand.

All-rounder Andre Russell (2-19) continued his fine form at the Indian Premier League where he starred for champions Kolkata Knight Riders as he broke the stand when Amini got the top edge of his bat while attempting to cut the cross-seam delivery.

Bau’s 43-ball knock featured six boundaries and a six. It was ended in Joseph’s return spell as the fast bowler outfoxed him with a deceptive slow off-cutter and had him clean bowled. Kiplin Doriga then made a rapid unbeaten 27 off 18 in the death overs.

New Zealand, Uganda and Afghanistan are the other teams in Group C from which two will advance to the second stage of the tournament.

Namibia take on Oman later Sunday in the opening Group B game at Bridgetown, Barbados.