Sunday 17 December 2017 / 03:19 PM

GUPTILL THE GREAT FORCES DECIDER WITH 180*

Martin Guptill made a stunning return to the New Zealand line-up in Hamilton on Wednesday, steering the Black Caps to a series-levelling seven-wicket win over South Africa with an astonishing 180 not out.

Guptill missed the ODI decider against Australia, the one-off Twenty20 against South Africa, and the opening three one-day clashes with the Proteas, but slotted back in at the top of the order with one of the best innings ever produced by a Kiwi.

South Africa reached 8/279 after winning the toss and choosing to bat, helped by a late flurry from the mercurial AB de Villiers (72* off 59 balls) and Wayne Parnell (29 off 12).

But Guptill – who reviewed a crucial lbw decision in the 16th over to remain at the crease – blew the tourists away in a spectacular 138-ball knock that featured 15 fours and an incredible 11 sixes.

Ross Taylor (66 off 97) grittily held down the other end for the on-fire Guptill, and when the veteran departed in the 43rd over, the result was effectively in the bag. Guptill bludgeoned the remaining 23 runs required from next two overs as New Zealand clinched an emphatic win with 30 balls to spare.

One of the best limited-overs batsman the game has seen, Guptill made further inroads into cricket’s record books with his 12th ODI ton:

  • Guptill’s 180* is the 21st-highest individual score in ODI history.
  • He now has the three highest ODI scores by a New Zealander, after his 237* against West Indies at the 2015 World Cup, and his 189* against England in 2013.
  • His score represented 64.28% of New Zealand’s total, the fourth-highest percentage of a team’s total in ODI history, behind luminaries Viv Richards (189* of 272 – 69.48%), Kapil Dev (175* on 266 – 65.78%) and Rohit Sharma (264 of 404 – 65.34%), and edged out Andrew Jones (47 of 74 – 63.51%) as the best by a Kiwi.
  • It was just the 14th time a player has hit more than 10 sixes in an innings, and equalled his own NZ record set against the Windies.
  • Guptill also surged to equal-14th on the all-time list of six hitters in ODI history with 137. De Villiers (192) is the only current player with more.

The Black Caps and the Proteas square off in the fifth and deciding ODI at Eden Park on Saturday.

[YouTube – MANISH DWANGAN]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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