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Guptill returns in a destructive form to bash out Australia in a nail biter, NZ leads the T20I series by 2-0

Neesham and Guptil stars
ICC/ Twitter

New Zealand beat Australia by 4 runs on Thursday at University Oval to lead the five-match T20I series by 2-0. Martin Guptil returns with a destructive form while Jimmy Neesham also hit some useful runs for New Zealand.

The veteran New Zealand batsman, Martin Guptill comes back with a thrilling form to score a destructive 97 as New Zealand edge out Australia by 4 runs in the second T20I at Dunedin on Thursday to lead the five-match T20I series by 2-0.

Earlier, Australia won the toss and asked New Zealanders to bat first and it turned out good for NZ as Guptill struck a destructive 97 to set up a huge total of 220 but both the teams were sweating till the end as New Zealand won the nail biter with a close margin of 4 runs.

“There were flashbacks there from the last time Stoinis hit a hundred. Incredible partnership from Stoinis and Sams at the end there. As we know on these sorts of grounds anything can happen and you have to be on your toes. I think it was a pretty strong performance from us across the board. But it was a very good game and it’s such a small margin in T20 cricket,”

said Williamson in a post-match presentation.

However, both sides took advantage of the short ground at University Oval in a match that featured great entertainment for fans including 30 sixes and 434 runs at an average of 10.9 an over.

Marcus Stoinis starred for Australia after scoring 78 off just 37 balls but Guptill’s 97 off 50 dominated because it laid the foundation for New Zealand’s win.

Black Caps spinner, Mitchell Santner was the top wickets take from NZ, ended the fixures on 4-31 in four overs. While Kane Richardson was the top performer from Aussies, picked up three wickets at the cost of 43.

Jimmy Neesham bowled a great final over after bashing Australian bowlers, he picked up two wickets in the final over when Aus required 15 to win off 6 balls. He had also scored 45 off just 16 balls including six maximums.

The results put NZ in the lead of 2-0 in the five-match series after a stunning win over the World second-ranked T20I team.

Guptill’s power show gave him the record for the highest number of sixes in the T20I format with 132 sixes breaking the previous record of 127 sixes by Rohit Sharma.

The 34-year-old smacked all over the ground for 8 sixes to reject the Australian bowling attack like a boss. Sadly, he fell short of 3 runs after trying to complete his 3rd century in the format but Daniel Sams got him out.

However, Guptill did not have a great time in the recent series against West Indies and Pakistan where he only managed an average of 17 and 11.5 in the domestic competition before picking up a hamstring injury.

 Pressure began on the opener when he made a duck in the opening match against Australia on Monday and raised chances for the uncapped Finn Allen to join the squad.

But, he answered his critics with a strong comeback that answered all the questions of his position in the squad. The right-hander completed his half-century in 27 balls including 8 boundaries, 4 of which were maximums.

Guptill also admitted that he did not change his natural game and went with the same mindset and luckily, it worked for him. 

While Guptil was entertaining the crowd at University Oval, Kane Williamson was steady as a rock on the other side, scoring 53 off 35 balls.

Martin Guptil was named as man of the match for his blistering knock.

“I’m a little bit cooked at the moment but it’s nice to get some runs and another win. My mind has been clear. Things just haven’t gone my way. It was nice to spend some time in the middle today. Getting the win is the most important thing,”

said Guptill in a post-match presentation.

Australia made a solid start despite the struggle of Aaron Finch who continued not to score runs after getting dismissed on 12.

The tourists were 87-2 at the halfway of their chase with the rookie batsman, Josh Philippe scoring 45 off 32 balls.

He departed at the midway of the run chase that saw Mitch Marsh and Ashton Agar got dismissed on duck, get in line following Philippe as Santner claimed three wickets in an over.

Stoinis and Daniel Sams came together with Australia shaking at 113 for 6 to stage a remarkable fightback, putting on a 92 runs stand that put Australia very close to the chase.

But the heroics from the duo, who scored 41 off 15 balls were not enough to put Australia across the line.

“It was a great game of cricket. That partnership between Stoinis and Daniel Sams was extraordinary hitting. It was brilliant to get it back to 12 an over from 16 and a half. Trent bowled a beautiful over which halted our momentum. All in all a great game to be a part of. It would have been good to be on the winning side of it though. I thought that we didn’t bowl too badly today. Gup played a brilliant inning. There was some brilliant hitting batting on both sides,”

said Aaron Finch in a post-match presentation.

Playing 11 of New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult

Playing 11 of Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Philippe, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Daniel Sams, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa