“I was preparing for this” – Windies’ Rutherford after 68* against New Zealand as best knock of his career

After playing a match-winning knock against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup 2024 at the Brian Lara Stadium, West Indies batter Sherfane Rutherford said that he was preparing for a moment like this.

Sherfane Rutherford hit a sublime unbeaten 68 as West Indies fought back to beat New Zealand by 13 runs to book their place in the T20 World Cup Super 8s.

The co-hosts were in trouble at 22-4 when Rutherford came to the crease and continued to struggle for much of the innings, slumping to 30-5 and 76-7.

But Rutherford kept his cool and timed his onslaught to perfection as he took 37 from the last two overs of the innings to lift West Indies to 149-9 in Trinidad.

That proved to be more than enough on a two-paced surface as New Zealand fell away in the middle overs of the chase.

Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph took 4-19 and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie 3-25 as the Black Caps, after some late hitting from Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner, ended on 136-9.

Speaking after the match, Rutherford said that he was preparing for this moment when he was with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League 2024.

“Want to thank God for the opportunity. I was in IPL for two months. I was preparing even though I wasn’t playing. I was preparing for this. To take it deep was the plan. Me and Sammy had a talk. We spoke of taking it deep and just keep rotating the strike as I can make up for it later on,” Rutherford said.

The Caribbean batter said that he wanted to maximise the runs in the death overs of the first inning.

“Looking at their bowling lineup I knew they were short of two overs and I was telling myself to take it deep. Wanted to maximise on those overs. That was the plan and I think it did that well. Hopefully the start of something to come,” he added.

While West Indies can look forward to the next stage of a home tournament, back-to-back defeats leave New Zealand’s qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

They must now beat Uganda and Papua New Guinea in their remaining games and hope other results go their way.

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