From tension to triumph

West Indies’s Alzarri Joseph bowls during the ICC T20 World Cup match against New Zealand, on June 12, 2024, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.  - Photo by LIncoln Holder
West Indies’s Alzarri Joseph bowls during the ICC T20 World Cup match against New Zealand, on June 12, 2024, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba. - Photo by LIncoln Holder

It is a famous but hackneyed phrase; “the glorious uncertainties of cricket.”

It’s apt when used of the clash between West Indies and New Zealand on June 12 at the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba.

The total unexpectedness of events in a cricket match is what makes the emotions of the crowd fluctuate from excitement to despair and suspense to confidence.

The supporters of the Caribbean team experienced it all and having emerged winners, it was worth the ride.

I have to agree with those who have said the pitches are not up to standard. I expected the pitch at Tarouba to suit the T20 game better, as witnessed by previous T20 matches played there before the World Cup. It did not, unfortunately.

However, the crowd, after being stunned into silence by the early crumbling of the home team’s batsmen, eventually was brought to joyous life by the vicious blade wielded by the Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford (68 not out) against the NZ bowlers.

His cricket intelligence made me wonder why he hasn’t been on the team before. Maybe it’s because he has only now matured.


The couple of times I’ve seen him play before, he always looked like a promising left-handed middle-order batsman; nonetheless, he was never consistent. Sometimes a batsman of class and temperament needs a situation like this to bring out the best of his ability and the prowess he possesses to make his team a victorious one.

I quote him after the match: Avery tough wicket to start on…I tried to bat time, bat singles. I always told myself that I perform well when I give myself time, and it was just for me to keep reminding myself of that: give yourself time and take it deep.

This advice could be pertinent to so many of our cricketers; coaches should take note of it.

So many batsmen seem to think that because it’s only 20 overs, they have little time to score runs, without recognising that in any format, a batsman has to plot his innings from its beginning, then adjust his batting to suit the context of the game.

In the T20 version, the dynamics of the game can change rapidly, so taking the risk of hitting a boundary must be weighed against its value when compared to being dismissed; the present score; plus the number of overs remaining.

With a few overs left, the risk must be taken, but, early in the innings, it’s wise to hold on, and I believe this is what Rutherford meant, and what he planned, to win the game.

His maturity was commendable and one hopes other batsmen will take note. When the fall of the early wickets was taking place it was difficult to understand the strokes that were being played.

No one else in the top order worked out the problems the team was facing, and hence no attempt was made to ensure a competitive total.

They continued attacking the bowling, looking for runs while the noise of clattering dismissals could be heard from a distance. No rationale!

In all cricket, including T20, reading the game is all-important. Runs cannot be scored by batsmen sitting in the pavilion!

The pathetic attempts of Brandon King and Johnson Charles were not even worthy of schoolboy opening batsmen. Nicholas Pooran, for all his skill, didn’t seem to care whether he got out or not.

And Roston Chase, of whom I spoke so highly after the last game, without knowing the pace or bounce of the pitch, tried to slog a long hop, but because he did not keep his eyes on the ball, it struck higher up the bat and lobbed to the mid-on fielder for a simple catch.

In no time at all it was 22 for three wickets, and the silence of the crowd was deafening.

With that score, one would have thought that the skipper, Rovman Powell, would at least have been more cautious.

However, he obviously wasn’t, and instead of playing in an orthodox manner to start his inning, he attempted to guide an ordinary delivery to third man and was caught behind the wicket: four for 22. Thankfully, the 26-year-old Rutherford stood up, and his explanation of his approach should help the mindset of other batsmen.

Bowlers Alzarri Joseph (4/20) and Gudakesh Motie (3/25) did a great job completing the demolition contrived by Rutherford.


"From tension to triumph"

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