New Zealand’s Martin Guptill broke all kinds of records as he helped New Zealand reach a record equalling seventh semi-final after the Kiwis defeated West Indies by 143 runs. The New Zealand openers quite astonishing 237 not out, which is a new world cup record helped set up a mouth watering tie with South Africa.
The hosts who have been one of the form sides of this tournament, came into this one with an unblemished record with the Black Caps winning seven out of their first seven games. New Zealand who have been brilliant in this tournament with bat and ball recalled Adam Milne who replaces Mitchell McClenaghan who disappointed against Bangladesh.
The visitors who are two time champions, opted to drop paceman Kemar Roach and bring in spinner Suleman Benn – but the most surprising change was at the top of the order where Dwayne Smith was dropped and replaced by Johnson Charles. The exclusion of the former however some may argue isn’t that surprising considering Smith has had a disappointing tournament so far.
It was New Zealand who won the toss and elected to bat first, which surprised many considering the last time the Kiwis played on this ground against England they bowled first. With a closer look at the pitch though however, the decision to bat first looked to be a good one due to the state of the pitch.
The home side got their chase off to a typically aggressive start with Brendan McCullum, well just being his usual self. The former wicket-keeper batsmen was kept off strike in the early stage as Martin Guptill farmed the early strike with relative success – but was given a life line when West Indies’ Marlon Samuels dropped Guptill when the New Zealander was on four- and boy did he make the Caribbean side pay for that.
In the early stages it was McCullum who was being the aggressor, hitting Jerome Taylor for a four and a six – but when the skipper miscued a shot, it was left to Windies captain Jason Holder to a take a smart catch whilst running backwards.
Despite that aggressive start, it wouldn’t have been the ideal start for the home side who lost their captain cheap and early. That dismissal brought in Kane Williamson who has had a quite brilliant 18 months.
The visitors after making the early break through would have been sensing blood no doubt – so Williamson and Guptill needed to bat sensibly to enable the Kiwi’s to regroup – and that they did. The second wicket pair did that brilliantly as they put on 62 for the second wicket.
New Zealand were at that stage starting to get back on top in this game- but when Kane Williamson misjudged a slower ball to give Chris Gayle a simple catch, which the West Indian did his utmost to drop it seemed- the Kiwis were in need to regroup again.
That dismissal brought Ross Taylor to the areas who is maybe the only batsmen in the Kiwi batting line up who is struggling slightly – but as they say class is permanent and form is temporary.
With Martin Guptill being the aggressor, the pair managed to managed to put on 143 for the second wicket. That’s not to belittle Ross Taylor’s patient 43 – but it was Guptill who took the headlines as the 28 year old quite brilliantly took the visiting attack apart.
Usually you would associate the kind of hitting Guptill was doing with that of his captain McCullum – but the clean striking and powerful hitting left the Windies in awe – and unable to stop the juggernaut that was Guptill.
The New Zealand opener’s brilliant innings of 237 not out included 24 fours and 11 massive sixes with one six going out of the ground. That brilliant knock enabled the home side to post a mammoth 393-6, a world cup knock out stage record. Guptill’s 237 is the highest score in the world cup, beating the previous record which Chris Gayle set 25 days before.
The 28 year old became the first New Zealander to score successive world cup hundreds and the first New Zealander to bat through the 50 overs three times in ODIs.
West Indies who had the misfortune of losing the toss, knew they had a mountain to climb in regards to chasing such a big total. Unfortunately West Indies were never really in the hunt as key players such as Johnson Charles and Lendl Simmonds were out cheaply.
Chris Gayle however did produce some fireworks with a typical Gayle like innings. The tall left hander clubbed eight sixes to briefly entertain the crowd – but when the West Indies opener was out for 61 bowled Adam Milne for 61, the Caribbean side’s hopes of a semi final place were effectively over.
The visitors were scoring at a good pace – but losing wickets at regular intervals never helps – and the visitors’ brave challenge ended when captain Jason Holder was last out for a breezy 42 off just 26 balls.
So it’s New Zealand who progress at West Indies expense. The Kiwis will now face South Africa on Tuesday 24th March in the semi finals in what promises to be a great match as neither side have ever played in a world cup final.