Martin Guptill’s World Cup story: Poor run with the bat, crucial run-outs and a heartbreaking overthrow

first_imgMartin Guptill, even in his wildest dreams, wouldn’t have imagined the kind of World Cup 2019 which he eventually ended up with. Being the highest scorer during the 2015 edition, New Zealand team had high expectations from their firebrand opener. After all, Guptill was and still is the only cricketer in the Southern Hemisphere to have hit a double century in ODIs and that innings had come in the 2015 World Cup. After New Zealand’s inaugural game of the World Cup 2019, the side’s belief in Guptill must have only got stronger.Guptill scored a quickfire unbeaten 51-ball-73 as New Zealand walloped Sri Lanka’s total of 136 in a mere 16.1 overs without breaking a sweat. What followed later, however, was hardly believable for Guptill the batsman.25, 0, 35, 0, 5, 20, 8, 1, 19: read Guptill’s scores in the next 9 games including the final against England at Lord’s. With a total of 186 runs in World Cup 2019, Guptill’s horror run with the bat continued to haunt his side throughout the tournament.Despite all this, Guptill still played some pivotal roles in the World Cup. The first big moment arrived during the game against Australia when Guptill leaped in the air at short-fine-leg to pluck the ball out of thin air after the dangerous Steve Smith had made a good connection with the pull off Lockie Ferguson. Smith was left stunned and so were Guptill’s teammates.But the moment when Guptill’s fielding became the true talking point of the World Cup 2019 was when with one-and-a-half stumps to aim at, his direct-hit from fine-leg struck timber bringing the curtains down on a brilliant counter-attacking innings from India’s talisman MS Dhoni. It was this moment when New Zealand finally knew that they were going to the final while Dhoni – one of the fastest sprinters in world cricket – started his long walk back to the pavilion in possibly his last World Cup innings.advertisementBy now the clip of Guptill’s throw to run-out Dhoni was being played across social media platforms all over the world. Guptill, on the other hand, was itching to make an impact in possibly the greatest match of his life at Lord’s.At the fag end of the final of the World Cup 2019, England had looked down and out as New Zealand’s death bowlers seemed to have created a vice-like grip over the match, not giving Ben Stokes room to hit the big shots. In the final over of England’s chase with the team needing 9 to win off 3 balls, Guptill’s throw from deep mid-wicket region struck a diving Ben Stokes’s bat on the full at the striker’s end and the ball raced away to the boundary behind the wicketkeeper. Thus, instead of 2 runs, England got awarded 6 bringing the equation down to 3 required off 2 balls – a much more achievable target, even though Trent Boult ensured a tie.When the match went into the Super Over, Guptill found himself on the field again but this time he had the responsibility to score 16 off 6 balls to bring New Zealand home their maiden World Cup. On the last delivery of the Super Over Guptill was on strike with his side needing 2 off 1 but he only managed to dig out Jofra Archer’s full delivery to Jason Roy at deep mid-wicket. As he scampered for the 2nd run, Roy’s throw found Jos Buttler’s gloves at the striker’s end, who dislodged the stumps in a flash. Guptill desperately dived to cross the crease but was found well short when the bails were dislodged bringing an end to a crazy Lord’s evening.As the England players celebrated in ecstasy, Guptill stayed motionless with his head sulking trying to make sense of what had just transpired. Soon he was being comforted by his teammates and even Chris Woakes came up to him to offer words of encouragement. When the dust finally settles on the exhilarating Lord’s evening, Guptill wouldn’t be faulted for still wondering what went on with him at World Cup 2019. He couldn’t have imagined the events of the past 6 weeks before, but he is sure to be revisited by them for a long time to come.Also Read | As the dust settles on epic World Cup final, spare a thought for the winnersAlso Read | Knighthood for Ben Stokes? ‘Of course’ say UK’s next prime ministerial candidateslast_img

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