Cricket

Was difficult to hit through the line of the ball in Napier: Guptill


BANGLADESH TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND, 2019

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“We haven’t really had the flat wickets with good carry and bounce like in the previous years” – Guptill. © AFP

Martin Guptill is happy to work his way through the travails of a slow Napier pitch and score an ODI hundred, which helped New Zealand beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the opening game of the three-match series. The hosts had notably lost the ODI against India here couple of weeks back, with Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav picking seven wickets between them, and Guptill is glad that New Zealand could find a way past the atypical slowness in the McLean Park pitch.

“Today wasn’t a wicket where you could hit through the line of the ball,” Guptill said of his 116-ball 117 on Wednesday (February 13). “It was slow and we had to work hard on it. We were able to get through the first ten overs without losing a wicket, and then push on for a big partnership, that set up the game.

“It has been a funny old summer. We haven’t really had the flat wickets with good carry and bounce like in the previous years. So some of them have been quite hard work and you had to find a way to get through.”

New Zealand put on 103 runs for the first wicket – the first time they stitched a century opening stand since December 2017 – but it came at a slow pace. That the target was only 233 allowed the openers to take their time.

“Bangladesh bowled really well in the first ten overs,” Guptill admitted. “They didn’t give a lot of bad balls away. We had to work hard for our runs. The way Henry and I rotated the strike, I thought, it helped the partnership develop.

“Hitting through the line of the ball isn’t much of an option sometimes … So if you can try to just rotate the strike and work with the guy at the other end and build a partnership. You can go a long way to set up a large total or chase a big total down.”

McLean Park has a unique East-West pitch, and the game against India here was stopped for over half an hour owing to sun being in the batsmen’s eyes. Guptill admitted that it wasn’t easy batting out there during sunset but he was able to “push through” and that it was “playable” unlike the last time.

“Today was good. We were able to push through a tough period. It wasn’t easy to bat out there. The sun coming down. But we were able to bat through that, and make sure we set the platform. We also ensured it got easy for us towards the end.

“We just batted through, to be fair. I have batted at that time before. It is not much fun. But if you push on through, you can get through it. It was playable. It was a spin bowlers bowling at the time so it wasn’t Lockie [Ferguson] bowling at us, which wouldn’t have been too much fun. We would have asked for it there.”

© Cricbuzz

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