Guptill Sensational For Black Caps

 Just sublime. I will never forget it! Brendon McCullum on Guptill’s knock

Opener’s record takes New Zealand into the semi-finals

By Roger Childs

Black Caps hero Martin Guptill
Black Caps hero Martin Guptill

In one of the greatest innings in limited-over cricket history, Martin Guptill kept the World Cup dream alive.

His record breaking 237 not out, ensured a Black Caps semi-final match up with the talented South Africans next week. The 393 target was always going to be too tough for the West Indies.

They did score rapidly, but at the cost of regular wickets. In the end it was a chase too far. The 143 run New Zealand win at the Caketin in Wellington was very satisfying for the home team and all the regular batsmen had useful time in the middle.

A good toss to win

Jason Holder lost the toss and the chance to bat first
Jason Holder lost the toss and the chance to bat first

If we can get a good score, we can be desperate in the field later. Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum elected to bat on the placid Wellington pitch with the aim of giving his batsmen the chance to build a big total. The skipper himself was out cheaply but no worries, it was to be his opening partner’s day.

Martin Guptill came into the World Cup with mixed form in the lead-up games. Then he hit his stride in the final pool game against Bangladesh with a well deserved century. However, no-one could have anticipated his impending demolition of the West Indies bowling attack.

None of the other batsmen scored fifty, however they all had valuable partnerships with the double centurion to advance the score to nearly 400. It was New Zealand highest ever one day total against a top international team.

Lead by Guptill, the scoring rate steadily increased:

  • 100 in 19 overs
  • 160 in 30 overs
  • 240 in 40 overs
  • 309 in 45 overs
  • 393 in 50 overs

153 runs were scored in the last 10 overs and 36 was slogged off the last two!

Guptill’s amazing achievement

Martin GuptillMartin Guptill drove the first ball for four with a straight drive all along the ground. Then on the third ball he should have been caught by Samuels at cover point. What a costly miss!

It was a rare mistake and Guptill shrugged it off. He proceeded to build his innings towards the first hundred with superb drives, straight and through the covers, and well timed square and back cuts. His hundred came up in 111 balls, but now the pace quickened.

In the next 52 deliveries he faced, Martin Guptill would batter 130+ runs with plenty of sixes into the crowd. One towering boundary went on to the stadium roof, a feat achieved by only one other player in the history of Caketin cricket.

The 30,000 plus crowd basking in the Wellington sunshine loved every moment of it and soon realised that they were watching one of the great ODI innings of all time.

There was a nice touch when Guptill passed 215: West Indian legend, Chris Gayle, who had scored 215 against Zimbabwe a couple of weeks ago, warmly congratulated the new record holder.

The statistics:

  • 237 not out: the highest ever World Cup score
  • 163 balls
  • Strike rate 145.4
  • 24 fours
  • 11 sixes.

Plenty to bowl at

The Black Caps celebrate another West indies wicket
The Black Caps celebrate another West indies wicket

The West Indies knew they had to score quickly, to have any chance. They needed to average nearly 8 an over and actually achieved this. Unfortunately they ran out of wickets as the Black Caps bowlers stuck to their task and the catches were taken.

Brendon McCullum showed why he is probably the best captain in the tournament. He knew that Trent Boult was his number one strike weapon and decided to give him his full 10 overs early, instead of saving him for a couple late in the innings. Boult responded brilliantly and after clean bowling opener Charles for only 3, went on to take 4 for 44. He is now the top wicket-taker in the competition.

 

Daniel Vettori: a complete all-rounder
Daniel Vettori: a complete all-rounder

McCullum’s enthusiasm is infectious and he gives100% in the field. A classic demonstration of his never-say-die attitude was in a chase to the boundary. Vettori just failed to cut off a four but his skipper dived over the top of him in a final desperate attempt to save a run.

Daniel Vettori is the Black Caps oldest player, however he is probably one of the most agile. His one-handed catch above his head on the boundary to dismiss the dangerous Samuels for 27 was awe-inspiring.

The West Indies come up short

Chris Gayle: did well but was not fully fit
Chris Gayle: did well but was not fully fit

To have any chance of victory, Big hitting opener Chris Gayle needed to fire and other batsmen needed to stay with him. Gayle has been plagued with a back injury recently and looked a little uncomfortable while batting. However this didn’t stop him hitting 8 sixes in a whirlwind 61.

A number of other batsmen got starts and captain Jason Holder hit a rapid fire 42, however it was never going to be enough. When Holder holed out to Anderson in the deep, the Blacks Caps were into the semi-finals.

( Our Melbourne correspondent, John Smith, will assess our chances against the strong South African side in the semi-finals.)