Martin Guptill gave New Zealand fans at Wellington something to cheer about as he led his team to a clinical six wicket victory in the first Twenty20 International over South Africa.
Guptill and the New Zealand bowlers provided the momentum the hosts needed to seal the win against South Africa, who had been in great form prior to this game.
New Zealand Captain, Brendon McCullum, said: “Full credit to the bowlers and to Martin who’s in great form at the moment.”
South Africa, who batted first, didn’t start off too well, losing their top four batsmen with only 52 runs on the board.
However, that’s when Jean Paul Duminy and Justin Ontong went on the offensive against the hosts. Ontong, in one over, smashed four consecutive sixes off Kane Williamson, as South Africa reached a respectable total of 147.
Tim Southee was the best of the best from the New Zealand bowlers has he picked up three wickets for just 28 runs.
New Zealand’s top batsmen all chipped in with decent scores to edge them towards the target, but Guptill continued on with his blazing form, hammering 78 runs from just 55 deliveries, which included five boundaries and four massive sixes, as he saw New Zealand home with four balls to spare.
Guptill, who was also Man of the Match, said: “Batting really well at the moment…I only had one net yesterday and one this morning, but I feel in really good touch in the games.”
South Africa’s Morne Morkel, Rusty Theron and Jean Paul Duminy all had one wicket in the brilliant effort.
The tourists Captain, AB de Villiers, was frustrated with the losing start to the series. “Not a great start, I take responsibility for that… but we fought back and in the end we got quite close…but we want to get it all together in the next game” he said.
Captain McCullum was extremely pleased with his teams’ all round performance. “Pitch had something for both fast and slow bowlers, so it was decent…can’t fault our effort throughout the summer there so far” he said.
New Zealand now have a 1-0 lead in the Twenty20 International series and will be looking to continue their dominant streak when the two sides face off again at Hamilton on the 19th of February.