Superstar opener Martin Guptill and his relatively unheralded teammate, Colin Munro, went on a record-breaking spree at Eden Park on Sunday as New Zealand crushed Sri Lanka by nine wickets to wrap up the Twenty20 series 2-0.
After the tourists recovered from an ordinary start to post 8/142 – thanks to captain Angelo Mathews’ brilliant 81 off 49 balls – Guptill began the Black Caps’ withering batting assault with 63 off just 25 deliveries. The hometown hero clobbered six fours and five sixes, while his 19-ball half-century broke the New Zealand record he co-held with Aaron Redmond (23 balls) for the fastest in T20 internationals.
But after being caught behind in the seventh over, Guptill unwittingly secured another record – the shortest time holding an international cricket record.
Munro hit four of the first seven balls he faced over the rope, before adding another three sixes to end the game in the 10th over. His seventh six brought up his 50 in just 14 balls, smashing Guptill’s minutes-old Kiwi mark.
The Durban-born 28-year-old’s sensational effort was the second-fastest T20I half-century ever, behind only Yuvraj Singh’s unforgettable 12-ball 50 for India against England in 2007 – coincidentally, scored in Durban.
The Black Caps have announced themselves as a real threat in March’s T20 World Cup by dismantling the No.2-ranked Sri Lankans, despite the explosive Brendon McCullum’s impending retirement from all international cricket.
ODI World Cup hero Grant Elliott took 4/22 with his medium-pace bowling, while quick Adam Milne and spinner Mitchell Santner grabbed two scalps apiece, and fiery fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan was superb despite going wicket-less as the Kiwis’ attack continues to thrive in Tim Southee’s injury absence.
Guptill, though, shapes as the Black Caps’ limited-overs trump card. He averaged 82.75 in their comprehensive ODI series success against Sri Lanka, including scores of 79, 93 not out and 102 in his side’s three wins, before top-scoring for New Zealand in both T20 clashes.
The unassuming 29-year-old will be looking to translate that form into the Test arena when Australia arrives on New Zealand’s shores next month, however.
Although he managed a career-best 156 and a half-century during the two-match series against a disappointing Sri Lanka outfit, Guptill struggled in the recent three-Test campaign across the Tasman, averaging less than 14 with a top score of 23.
Across the Tasman Sea, Martin Guptill made 58 (34) in the #NZvSL T20i. His last 6 inns: 389 runs 271 balls Ave: 77.80 SR: 144 36×4 22×6
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) January 7, 2016