Martin Guptill showcased his astounding batting capabilities as he powered New Zealand home against Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 at Auckland.
Zimbabwe, who decided to bat first, were looking to make a competitive total against an on fire New Zealand batting lineup. Opener Hamilton Masakadza provided the opening spark that Zimbabwe needed with his 36 ball 53.
Zimbabwe Captain, Brendan Taylor, who was happy with Masakadza’s performance, said: “Good to see Hamilton get back into form.”
Elton Chigumbura provided some late entertainment as he hammered the New Zealand bowlers’ all over the place, however, he was unlucky as he fell two runs short of what would have been a thoroughly dominant half century.
Michael Bates took three wickets for New Zealand, as they were able to hold Zimbabwe to a highly respectable total of 159.
New Zealand, chasing a target of 160, started off in dreadful fashion as they lost opener Rob Nicol and Captain Brendon McCullum to Kyle Jarvis in the same over. However Guptill and Kane Williamson put together a massive partnership of 137, which put the game out of reach for the Zimbabweans.
Guptill, who made 91, lit up the Auckland night with his six immense sixes and also had five boundaries to go along with it.
Guptill, who was awarded the Man of the Match award, said: “Haven’t really had a hit in the last two days so nice to get out there and play the way I did.”
Captain McCullum said: “I thought 180-190 was a par score, the spinners did really well with short, sharp spells…outstanding wicket and Martin and Kane played well on it.”
Captain Taylor, however, took positives away from the match. “159 was competitive but we knew we were 20-30 short…it was definitely a notch up from the ODIs and we fought harder today. The fielding was frustrating again, but we have to give Guptill credit” he said.
Zimbabwe will be hungry for victory when the two sides face off again at Hamilton on the 14th of February.