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West Indies Secure Tense Victory Over Papua New Guinea Amid Sparse Attendance in Guyana

Guyana – Following the USA’s impressive victory against Canada in the 2024 T20 World Cup opener at Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, co-hosts West Indies began the Caribbean leg of the tournament on Sunday, hosting Papua New Guinea at Providence Stadium in Guyana. However, the match was overshadowed by empty stands, prompting fans on social media to criticize the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the low turnout.

Despite a decent turnout at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, where India played a warm-up game against Bangladesh, the two-time T20 World Cup champions West Indies were greeted by a sparse crowd in Guyana. Fans speculated that the increased ticket prices might be deterring the home crowd from attending, leading to a backlash against the ICC on social media.

On the field, West Indies survived a scare in their T20 World Cup opener as Papua New Guinea put up a spirited fight. Chasing a target of 137, West Indies found themselves in trouble with the asking rate touching 12 and half their side back in the pavilion. However, Roston Chase and Andre Russell held their nerves, producing some crucial big hits to secure a five-wicket win with an over to spare.

Papua New Guinea’s innings started poorly, losing two wickets early and slipping to 34 for three. Sese Bau’s half-century and valuable contributions from Assad Vala and Kiplin Doriga helped PNG recover to post a respectable total of 136 for eight in their 20 overs.

On a tricky, two-paced track, PNG’s bowlers made run-scoring difficult for the West Indies batters. Early help for the seamers saw the home team struggling, reduced to 97 for five in 16 overs, needing 40 runs from the final four overs.

Chase then changed the momentum along with Russell, guiding West Indies to victory. Chase’s composed innings, coupled with Russell’s explosive hitting, ensured that the West Indies avoided an upset in their tournament opener.

While the on-field action was gripping, the lack of spectators highlighted a concerning issue for the ICC as they look to build enthusiasm for the tournament. Fans have called for more accessible ticket pricing to encourage greater attendance in the upcoming matches.

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