GUP­TILL ROARS

Kiwi’s 180 lev­els ODI se­ries with SA

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MARTIN Gup­till roared back from in­jury with a record­break­ing 180 as New Zealand thrashed South Africa by seven wick­ets to level the one­day in­ter­na­tional se­ries yes­ter­day.

Gup­till’s score was the high­est by a New Zealan­der in an ODI chase and al­lowed the Black Caps to over­haul the 280 tar­get set by South Africa with five overs to spare.

The re­sult avenges the New Zealan­ders’ 159run loss in the pre­vi­ous match and lev­els the five­match se­ries 2-2, set­ting up a de­cider in Auck­land on Satur­day.

It was a stun­ning re­turn for Gup­till, who showed no ill ef­fects from be­ing side­lined for five weeks with ham­string prob­lems.

He posted the high­est-ever ODI score by a New Zealan­der against the Proteas and his 180run part­ner­ship with Ross Tay­lor (66) was also a new bench­mark against South Africa.

“It was one of those in­nings where every­thing went to plan,” Gup­till said.

“But I’ve got to park it pretty quickly be­cause we’ve got an­other game in Eden Park in a few days.”

Hit­ting the ball crisply from the out­set, Gup­till de­bunked ex­pec­ta­tions that the Sed­don Park pitch would be­come a spin­ners’ par­adise as the match wore on.

The op­po­site proved true, with Black Cap spin­ner Jee­tan Pa­tel en­joy­ing early suc­cess be­fore bats­men from both sides showed runs were there for the tak­ing on an in­creas­ingly docile deck.

It meant South Africa’s to­tal of 279 for eight — made af­ter win­ning the toss and opt­ing to bat — was not as chal­leng­ing as it ini­tially ap­peared.

Cap­tain AB de Vil­liers top-scored for the Proteas with an un­beaten 72, while Faf du Plessis made 67, Hashim Amla 40 and Wayne Par­nell 29 off 12 balls.

With South Africa look­ing shaky at 158 for six, de Vil­liers worked with Chris Mor­ris (28) and Par­nell to give them a de­fend­able to­tal.

De Vil­liers said it should have been enough. He re­fused to use Gup­till’s out­stand­ing form as an ex­cuse for his side, blam­ing their fail­ure to take wick­ets.

“It was a fan­tas­tic knock by Martin, he looked un­stop­pable tonight, but there are ar­eas where we need to im­prove and we’ll be work­ing on that,” he said.

South Africa were helped by a New Zealand at­tack that again failed to ap­ply pres­sure at the death, bleed­ing 72 runs off the fi­nal five overs.

But it was Gup­till who proved their sal­va­tion, rapidly bring­ing up 50 off 38 balls.

He was given out lbw on 62 but the de­ci­sion was over­turned on re­view and Gup­till went on to make 100 off 82 balls, his 12th ODI cen­tury.

He fin­ished the in­nings with 180 off 138 balls, in­clud­ing 15 fours and 11 sixes.

AP PIC

New Zealand’s Martin Gup­till (right) watches his shot dur­ing their one day in­ter­na­tional against South Africa at Sed­don Park in Hamil­ton, New Zealand yes­ter­day.

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