New Zealand’s batting mainstay in limited-overs format Martin Guptill showed all his class and belligerent stroke-making during the third and final ODI at Bay Oval on Tuesday to scale a massive feat. Chasing a stiff total of 297 to complete the whitewash versus India, Guptill scored a blistering half-century off just 29 balls to set the tempo early on. During his 66-run knock, he surpassed former opener Nathan Astle to become New Zealand’s most prolific opener in one-day internationals. Also Read - IPL 2021: Jos Buttler Hails Rajasthan Royals 'Captain' Sanju Samson, Calls Him Free Spirited And Relaxed
The 33-year-old provided the hosts a flying start in the chase as he clobbered the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground. He scored his runs at an impressive strike-rate of 143.48. Guptill smashed six boundaries and four maximums in his 46-ball knock. Also Read - Cricket: Ramesh Powar Returns as Head Coach of Indian Women's Cricket Team, Replaces WV Raman
Most runs as an opener for New Zealand (ODIs) Also Read - India Bowling Coach Bharat Arun Calls Hardik Pandya 'Outstanding Talent', Backs Shardul Thakur to Become Proper Fast Bowling All-Rounder
6178 Martin Guptill*
6176 Nathan Astle
3604 John Wright
3363 Brendon Mccullum
3280 Stephen Fleming
Guptill (6178 as an opener) scored his runs in 181 matches at an impressive average of 44.12 and strike-rate close to 89. He has 16 hundreds and 32 fifties under his belt in ODIs. Whereas, Astle, who occupies the second position in the list, has 6176 runs in 186 innings at an average of close 35, including 14 tons and 37 half-centuries. John Wright (3604), Brendon McCullum (3363) and Stephen Fleming (3280) are the other names rounding of the top five.
After an average show in the T20I series versus India, Guptill roared back to form in the ODIs with back-to-back fifties in Auckland and Mount Maunganui. Batting first, he played a solid knock of 79 to power NZ to a decent score which they later defending to clinch the series.
In the 3rd ODI, Guptill looked set for a big hundred but his innings was cut-short by Yuzvendra Chahal who snared his wicket with a peach of a delivery in the 17th over of NZ innings. Chahal bowled a perfect leg-break that drifted across the right-hander and lands near the leg stump, Guptill prods forward and closed the bat face early as the ball spins past his willow and hits the top of off-stump.
Earlier, KL Rahul struck his fourth career century to rescue the Indian innings from a precarious position and take it to a challenging 296 for 7 in the final ODI against New Zealand. Rahul made 112 runs (from 113 balls), including nine fours and two sixes, as he rescued India from 62/3 in the 13th over after being sent in to bat.