New Zealand v South Africa, 4th ODI, Hamilton February 28, 2017

'My No. 1 knock' - Guptill on his 180 not out

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WATCH - Guptill's incredible 180*

"Decent stick I've got, I'll put that one on ice until next time," Martin Guptill said about the bat that helped him pile up his series-levelling unbeaten 180 against South Africa.

It was a performance he rated as probably his best ODI innings, which would put it ahead of his 237 in the World Cup quarter-final against West Indies, because it came off the back of a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. That was a sentiment supported by his captain Kane Williamson who termed it a "world-class" innings.

Guptill had only begun netting a week ago, and the session the day before the fourth ODI was the highest intensity he had trained at since injuring his hamstring before the one-off T20I against South Africa, which followed a previous hamstring strain during the home Chappell-Hadlee series. In all, Guptill has only batted three times in 2017, twice for New Zealand and once for Auckland: his scores 112, 61 and 180 not out.

He had spoken before this match of hoping that he could regain the rhythm he had earlier in the season. The outcome was a magnificent display of clean hitting which included 11 sixes and left him with New Zealand's three highest scores in 50-over cricket.

"It's pretty up there, possibly No.1. I'm reasonably happy with how today went without a lot of preparation," he said. "It was difficult to bat all round, two-paced, turning, slower balls gripping, it wasn't easy, and I wanted to create a good partnership. I did that reasonably well and fortunately I was able to get a few out of the middle."

He had immediately jumped in an ice bath after the match and said his hamstrings were "a bit tight" but nothing that wasn't to be expected.

The two camps differed somewhat on how the conditions panned out with AB de Villiers believing the surface eased, starting at the back end of South Africa's innings when they scored 100 off the last eight overs, but Williamson supported Guptill's view that it remained a tricky pitch throughout.

"I said to Martin when he came off, that's probably his best, and he's done it a few times to be fair so there are a few tight comparisons," Williamson said. "In a chasing effort on what wasn't an easy surface and to hit the ball the way he did and play with the freedom we know he can and do something special against the best team in the world was a special, world-class effort."

In a chase of 280, Guptill inside-edged his first ball from Kagiso Rabada past the stumps, played out a maiden from Wayne Parnell in the second over and was 2 off 10 balls when he connected with a stinging pull shot off the left-arm quick for the first of his sixes. The splits for his fifties were 38 balls, 44 and 41 with his last 30 runs taking 15 deliveries.

"I wanted to give myself a chance really, have a look at what it was doing," he said. "I got a few away and developed a strike rate early at the top and carried it through."

Guptill's innings continued an upturn in his fortunes against South Africa. In the previous one-day series between the teams, Guptill scored his first hundred against them in the second match in Potchefstroom having had a previous best of 58 from 12 innings at an average of 14.50. In the space of three innings, the average against South Africa has lifted to 35.92.

"I've always rated him as a player, he's had to work through a few things," de Villiers said. "I was always hoping this day would never come, where he's figured out his game, playing it nice and late and he's moving well. I could sit here for quite some time and talk about that knock. It was a very special innings."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SamRoy on March 2, 2017, 8:57 GMT

    @Sai Bharadwaj First person who thinks Guptill is under-rated and Taylor over-rated. Taylor is a world class batsman in every format except T20 but he is good even in T20. And Guptill is a world class batsman in white ball cricket but average of 29 in test matches indicate he has been very poor in tests. Swinging ball; knicked or clean bowled.

  • Alexk400 on March 2, 2017, 7:33 GMT

    Guptil mirrors gayle in some ways. once he gets going ..going going like energizer bunny with one six per over and be contended soul. He got his method to madness but it was poor captaincy by clueless devillers as usual. Incompetent captain can't see the weakness in his team.

  • shane-oh on March 2, 2017, 7:32 GMT

    @GAZZAC and @REGOFPICTON - haha, yeah, pretty bizarre all round really.

  • SameOld on March 2, 2017, 4:27 GMT

    I was far from alone in predicting a huge guptill comeback leading to an NZ win, but I'll still claim it. Special ODI player.

  • regofpicton on March 1, 2017, 21:10 GMT

    Lovely. Another (probably Indian?) fan who thinks Guptill is under-rated. Not among New Zealanders he isn't - we all think he's great. And the same chap thinks Taylor is over-rated as he only performs occasionally. Now that is just weird. So far this summer remembering that his eye injury meant he didn't go on the tour to Australia, (and we got creamed in part as a result) and was left out of the T20 against SA (and we got creamed in part as a result), he won us one of the two return games against OZ, and the second ODI against SA, and helped Guptill to a partnership of 180 in this last game, then got out trying to keep the pressure off Guptill. Actually Taylor's figures speak for themselves and i'm sorry for wasting time even discussing this stupid idea.

  • gazzac on March 1, 2017, 19:14 GMT

    @Sai Bharadwaj? Did you really just pass that comment about Ross Taylor? His record speaks for itself.. And still trying to figure out the comparison of Guptill to Jaques Kallis...

  • a_southpaw on March 1, 2017, 17:14 GMT

    Guptil is brilliant with bat. Once he gets going, there is no stopping him. On a seeming difficult pitch, facing a strong attack (best spinner as ABD would say), Guptil eased to 280 in 45 overs. That's dominance!

  • Sai Bharadwaj on March 1, 2017, 17:13 GMT

    Guptill to me is one of the most under-rated players. He can be put onto the list of legend cricketers easily. Stylish batsman, Excellent Fielder & Can bowl a bit. He is like Jacques Kallis for New Zealand ..only if they can recognize his talent well. On the other hand, you see Ross Taylor is over-rated player in NZ who gets too many chances to perform one or two matches.

  • Paul on March 1, 2017, 15:01 GMT

    Agree Nixon - we have so many better players waiting in the wings in South Africa........ it's just absurd that a player like him keeps getting the nod. I do think his days are numbered though....

  • NixNixon on March 1, 2017, 13:29 GMT

    Well at least JP Duminy got to bat in AB's place and waist 40 balls to crawl to 25. So important that SA keep wrapping Duminy in cotton. He is such an awesome player - not!!!!! For heavens sakes, please drop Duminy. I have heard all the excuses in the book. Four ODI hundreds of which 3 was against Zim and one against Holland. Pathetic really.

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