West Indies survive Papua New Guinea scare in nervy T20 World Cup opener

Roston Chase bailed West Indies out against PNG  (AP)
Roston Chase bailed West Indies out against PNG (AP)

Roston Chase steered the West Indies through a nervy chase in their T20 World Cup opener in Guyana, seeing off a brave effort by an unfancied Papua New Guinea.

Chase made an unbeaten 42 off 27 balls as the tournament co-hosts sealed a five-wicket win with an over to spare, but it was not plain sailing as they chased down a modest target of 137.

When Sherfane Rutherford fell off the final ball of the 16th over, his side still needed 40 runs off the last 24 balls and the game appeared to be heading for a nail-biting conclusion.

But Chase showed no signs of nerves as he finished things off in relative comfort, hitting a quartet of fours and a six in his last seven deliveries in a dramatic gear shift.

PNG, ranked 20th in the world, were asked to bat first and battled to 136-8 after losing three wickets in the powerplay. Their innings was built around a knock of 50 from Sese Bau, while wicketkeeper Kiplin Doriga chipped in with a useful 27 not out.

Andre Russell and Alzarri Joseph took two wickets apiece for the Windies – the latter slightly expensive but responsible for removing Bau – and Akeal Hosein 1-9 in his three overs.

Alei Nao put early pressure on the home side when he had Johnson Charles for a golden duck before Brandon King (34) and Nicholas Pooran (27) chipped away at the target.

Sese Bau made a half-century fro PNG before being cleaned up by Alzarri Joseph (AP)
Sese Bau made a half-century fro PNG before being cleaned up by Alzarri Joseph (AP)

Papua New Guinea’s bowlers kept pace off the ball as the scoring slowed and when Doriga collected a pair of smart catches standing up to see off captain Rovman Powell and Rutherford in quick succession, it looked like game on.

Russell smashed his fourth ball for six to kick-start the counter, before Chase opened his shoulders in a decisive 18th over. After claiming 2-10 from his first three overs, skipper Assad Vala was taken for 18 in his last visit, leaving Chase standing tall at the close.

That followed Aaron Jones lifting the USA to their highest-ever run chase and a seven-wicket victory over Canada in the tournament’s opening match.

Half-centuries from Navneet Dhaliwal and Nicholas Kirton helped Canada set the hosts a target of 195 for victory at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas but after American openers Steven Taylor and Monank Patel fell quickly, Jones teamed up with Andries Gous to put on a power-hitting clinic.

Jones belted 10 sixes en route to an unbeaten 94 from just 40 balls, while Gous added 65 to get the tournament co-hosts off to a perfect start.

Additional reporting by PA