T20 World Cup: Powell admits 'Rutherford's knock was the difference' against NZ

Trinidad, Jun 13 (IANS): Skipper Rovman Powell admitted Sherfane Rutherford's unbeaten 68 was the game-changer in West Indies' narrow victory over New Zealand to advance to the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup.

Coming in to bat with West Indies reeling at 22 for 4 inside the powerplay, Rutherford was the hero for the home side, producing one of the innings of the tournament to help the hosts set a strong target of 149/9 at Brian Lara Stadium on Thursday (as per IST).

"We told the guys that somebody has to play a blinder. It wasn't going to be an easy wicket because of the inclement weather. We always believe that individual brilliance in T20 cricket is needed sometimes, and Sherfane's innings was a fantastic knock. It gave us confidence, and at the halfway mark, we believed,' said Powell after the match.

Rutherford's calculated assault began after he had cautiously worked his way to 31 off 27 balls. In the 19th over, he targeted Daryl Mitchell, smashing three sixes that added 19 crucial runs to the total. He continued his aggressive approach in the final over, this time against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, hitting two fours and a six.

"The margins in the match are fine and in conditions like that, two or three balls where the match-up suits, that can be the difference. We saw a fantastic knock from Rutherford and he certainly timed it beautifully and got his match-up. I think at the end of the day, that was the difference," he added.

Despite not getting any game time with the IPL-winning Kolkata Knight Riders, Rutherford was preferred over Shimron Hetmyer for this crucial match. His impactful innings against a seasoned New Zealand bowling lineup further validated the decision.

Reflecting on his preparation, Rutherford said, "I was in the IPL for two months, so you know I was preparing (there) even though I wasn't playing. I did a lot of work and planning. Keeping it simple and backing myself - that was the key."

Rutherford's plan was straightforward but effective. "I was just telling myself to take it deep. Me and(Daren) Sammy had a talk and he said: 'try and take it deep'. The deeper I went, I started feeling momentum and I thought I could always make up in the end."



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Title: T20 World Cup: Powell admits 'Rutherford's knock was the difference' against NZ

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