West Indies survive PNG scare in close T20 World Cup match

Guyana, (UNI) In a spectacle that electrified Providence Stadium here on Sunday, the West Indies narrowly triumphed over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a pulsating encounter to kickstart their T20 World Cup campaign with a nerve-wracking victory.

Anticipated as a routine affair, the match turned into a gripping saga as the West Indies found themselves embroiled in a battle of wits against a resurgent PNG side.

With the required run rate skyrocketing to an intimidating 12 runs per over and half the West Indies’ batting lineup dismissed, tension gripped the stadium as fans held their breath in anticipation.

The heroics of Roston Chase, who crafted a sublime unbeaten innings of 42 runs off 27 deliveries, embellished with four boundaries and two towering sixes, alongside the blistering cameo of Andre Russell, who bludgeoned his way to 15 runs off just nine balls, proved pivotal in steering the West Indies to victory amidst the mounting pressure.

The PNG bowlers, spearheaded by the fiery Alei Nao and ably supported by the spin duo of Assad Vala (2/28) and John Kariko, mesmerised with their craft, maintaining an iron grip on proceedings and ensuring a thrilling climax until the final ball.

Navigating through the treacherous waters of a two-paced pitch that offered early assistance to seamers before transitioning into a labyrinth of spin, the West Indies displayed grit and determination to weather the storm and emerge triumphant, much to the collective sigh of relief from the co-hosts and their fervent supporters.

Earlier in the contest, PNG showcased their mettle with the bat, mustering a total of 136 runs despite facing early setbacks.

The innings was marred by early collapses, with the scoreboard reading a precarious 7/2 and later plummeting to 34/3, casting doubt over PNG’s ability to set a competitive target.

However, a resilient knock from Sese Bau injected stability into the innings, laying the groundwork for PNG’s valiant fightback, with invaluable contributions from Vala and Kiplin Doriga in the latter stages.

The bowling arsenal of the West Indies, marshaled by a shrewd rotation of six bowlers, proved instrumental in dismantling the PNG resistance, with Alzarri Joseph and Russell emerging as the chief tormentors with two wickets apiece.

The collective effort of the bowling unit stifled PNG’s aspirations, showcasing the depth and potency of the West Indian attack.

In a match that exemplified the essence of T20 cricket – unpredictability, drama, and sheer brilliance – the West Indies emerged as worthy victors, while PNG’s gallant effort left an indelible mark on the annals of the tournament, setting the stage for an enthralling campaign ahead.

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