Monday February 18, 2013
Skipper McCullum and injured Guptill steer Kiwis to win
HAMILTON (New Zealand): Captain Brendon McCullum led New Zealand to a dramatic three-wicket win over England with heroic support from an injured Martin Guptill in the one-day international in Hamilton yesterday.
The game seemed beyond New Zealand’s grasp when they were reduced to 218 for seven as they chased England’s 258 all out.
With two players injured, they needed 41 runs off the last 25 balls with effectively one wicket in hand.
But Guptill, who had earlier retired with a hamstring strain when he had three runs to his name, hobbled out of the tunnel to provide a vital boost.
With limited mobility, he stood his ground and clouted four fours and a six while McCullum continued to blaze away at the other end to get the Kiwis home with seven balls to spare. Guptill finished on 27 with 24 of his runs coming from the 10 deliveries he faced on his return to the crease.
McCullum, who pulled New Zealand into contention after they slipped well behind the required run rate in the early stages of their innings, was unbeaten on 69 from 61 deliveries.
But he played down his performance and directed praise to Guptill.
“He was obviously incredibly disappointed to pull up lame with that injury, and we’ll assess him tomorrow to see where he’s at.
“But his striking ability at the end certainly helped us and he showed some real fighting characteristics as well, and I was reallly pleased for him that he was able to hit the runs.”
England captain Alastair Cook said his side needed a score of 280-290 to be competitive.
“I think we lost eight wickets in the last 15 or 16 overs and you can’t really do that,” he said.
The second match in the series will be played in Napier on Wednesday. — AFP