Martin Guptill’s Record Breaking 237*
Ahmedabad / Wellington: Anyone who heard a New Zealand opener had broken Chris Gayle’s record for highest World Cup score yesterday could have been forgiven for assuming it had come from the bat of the Black Caps skipper.
But it was Brendon McCullum’s top-order partner in crime Martin Guptill who produced the stunning knock in Wellington, blasting his way to New Zealand’s all-time highest individual ODI score.
It could have been a radically different story at Wellington Regional Stadium, had it not been for a lucky break on the third ball of the day.
Having won the toss and batted, strong emotions were felt throughoutthe sold-out ground as spectators and players stood to attention for the national anthems of New Zealand and West Indies.
The buzz around the Black Caps had been gathering momentum with each win throughout the pool matches and finally it was time for the long-awaited first knockout watch in Wellington.
The players were ready – having booked their place in the match two weeks earlier – and so was the full house that filled the stadium.
Martin Guptill signalled his intentions when he drove Jerome Taylor’s first delivery for four, but West Indies nearly achieved a dream start when Guptill miss-hit the third ball of the day straight to Marlon Samuels.
It was fast and low and Samuels could not hang on to it, missing a vital early chance.
At the other end, Brendon McCullum had to wait 10 balls before he faced his first delivery in the quarter-final. The skipper was clearly bursting to get out of the gates and sprinted down the pitch to get off the mark with a very quick single.
As Guptill took on the role of early aggressor, McCullum was like a simmering volcano at the non-strikers end, having faced just one ball from the first three overs.
When finally given an opportunity in the fourthover, he made full use of it, flicking one to the boundary before launching the next into the stands. One lucky punter nabbed the seventh ‘catch a million’ grab of the tournament and McCullum looked ominous.
It all fell apart four balls later however, when McCullum miss-timed a lofted drive and sent the ball to extra cover where Jason Holder executed a very good running catch.
It left Guptill, who headed into the match off the back of a player-of-the-match performance against Bangladesh where he scored 105,to once again highlight the Black Caps’ plethora of batting back-up plans when McCullum fails.
For the second time in as many matches, Guptill struck when McCullum missed out. He started patiently and worked his way first to 50 from 64 balls then 100 from 111, before launching during the batting power play with a display of lusty shots.
His third 50 came in just 23 balls before Guptill found yet another level, reaching his double century in 152 deliveries.
Even then there was no easing up for the 28-year-old finished the innings unbeaten on 237 off 163 balls, 137 of those coming off the last 52 he faced.
He hit an incredible 11 sixes and 24 fours as he posted the second-highest individual score in ODI history, the highest in World Cup history, and the highest by a Black Caps batsman in ODI cricket, smashing his own record of 189 not out he set against England in 2013.
The highlight of his innings was undoubtedly the 110m six he launched on to the roof of the stadium, becoming only the second man to do so after former New Zealand batsman and current batting coach Craig McMillan.
New Zealand’s total of 393-6 was the highest total in a World Cup knockout match, the Black Cap’s highest total in a World Cup match and the third-highest ODI total by New Zealand.
A sell-out Wellington crowd already geared up to see New Zealand in a knockout were in raptures throughout Guptill’s innings, producing a deafening cacophony of sound.
It was Guptill’s sixth one-day ton in 106 matches. His first came on debut in 2009, also against West Indies.
As he left the ground to a standing ovation, Guptill said the double century was “very cool”.
"Obviously there is pressure but you've just got to put it behind you and watch the ball as hard as you can and play accordingly," he said.
"That's what I tried to do today and luckily it paid off.
“It’s a very cool feeling, to be fair.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]