New Zealand thump PNG to end T20 World Cup on a high note

New York - Lockie Ferguson’s record bowling figures, combined with a solid team batting effort, propelled New Zealand to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 39th match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 on Monday. 

Chasing a modest target of 79, New Zealand comfortably reached the total, losing three wickets and with 46 balls to spare. New Zealand's pursuit began shakily, losing Finn Allen (0) and Rachin Ravindra early, leaving the team at 20-2 in 4.1 overs. Left-handed opener Devon Conway then steadied the innings alongside Kane Williamson, forming a sensible partnership. 

Conway and Williamson added 34 runs for the third wicket before Conway was dismissed by Semo Kamea in the 10th over. Conway top-scored for New Zealand with 35 off 32 balls, hitting two fours and three sixes. 

Following Conway's dismissal, Williamson (18 off 17) and Daryl Mitchell (19 off 12) ensured there were no further hiccups, guiding New Zealand to victory. Kabua Morea claimed two wickets for PNG, while Kamea took one. 

Earlier, PNG struggled against New Zealand's ruthless bowling attack, led by Ferguson. Sent in to bat first, PNG could only manage 78 runs, collapsing in 19.4 overs. PNG had a poor start, losing openers Tony Ura (1) and Assad Vala (6) early, leaving them at 14-2 in 4.1 overs. Sese Bau and Charles Amini attempted a recovery, adding 27 runs for the third wicket before Ferguson trapped Amini lbw for 17 in the 12th over. 

Bau was dismissed by Mitchell Santner after scoring 12 off 27 balls, sparking a collapse that saw PNG lose wickets rapidly. Norman Vanua provided some late resistance with 14 off 13 balls, including a four and a six. Ferguson led the bowling with record figures, supported by Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who took two wickets each, while Santner chipped in with one. 

Both New Zealand and PNG have been knocked out of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024. Player of the Match, Lockie Ferguson, Reflects on Performance and World Cup Exit.  

During the post-match presentation, player of the match Lockie Ferguson shared his thoughts: "It was a tough wicket to bat on but a great one to bowl on. It's sad to be leaving the tournament as we had high hopes coming in. It's rare to get conditions where you can bowl seam-up throughout an entire game. The wicket provided good assistance and swing. 

"Determining a par score on these pitches is challenging. We bowled well against Afghanistan and the West Indies, but those losses ultimately cost us our World Cup run. Despite the outcome, the crowds has been incredible, creating a fantastic, party-like atmosphere every time we played," he added. 

NEW ZEALAND 79-3 (Conway 35, Mitchell 12, Morea 2-4) beat PAPUA NEW GUINEA 78 (Amini 17, Ferguson 3-0, Southee 2-11, Boult 2-14) by seven wickets.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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