Opener’s 93 sets up big batting finish; Scotland chase fizzles after brief dominance
New Zealand gained two valuable points with a solid win over Scotland, who applied themselves better than they did in the first two Super 12 fixtures. It means New Zealand join Afghanistan on four points in Group 2, which setS up an intriguing clash between the two teams on Sunday. Before that, Afghanistan have to play India, the result of which could also be crucial in determining who progresses to the semi-final.
On a fresh pitch in Dubai, described by the television commentators as the best for run-scoring in the tournament so far, New Zealand posted 172 for 5, thanks largely to a 105-run fourth-wicket stand between Martin Guptill
and Glenn Phillips
. Guptill went on to score a 50-ball 93.
Scotland’s chase was steady, and even threatening in parts, but struggled to keep up with the required run-rate. They reached their 50 in 6.2 overs and needed 97 runs off the last 10. Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee were miserly but Scotland stayed in the hunt until close to the end. An unbeaten 50-run stand between Michael Leask
and Chris Greaves
kept them in with a chance until the last over but New Zealand’s experience held out.
Guptill anchored and then accelerated New Zealand’s innings and enjoyed several achievements along the way. He became the second batter to reach 3000 T20I runs when he sent an Alasdair Evans leg-stump half-volley over backward square leg for six. Guptill is second only to Virat Kohli
in T20I runs, and is only 156 runs behind. He also became the batter with the most sixes in this format, when he slog-swept Chris Greaves onto the top tier of the stands. That was Guptill’s 150th six in T20Is and measured 102 metres, one short of the biggest in the tournament so far. Guptill shared in a 105-run stand with Phillips which formed the spine of New Zealand’s total, and was in a good position to bring up his third T20I hundred but was out when chipped Brad Wheal to long-on to end what looked like an exhausting innings.
More to follow
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent