Guptill satisfied with “hard work” on return from injury
Martin Guptill struck a century to guide New Zealand home. (AFP Image)

His first game back after a back injury, Martin Guptill sizzled with a 15th ODI century paving the way for New Zealand’s comfortable eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first one-day international in Napier’s McLean Park. Guptill led the New Zealand’s chase of a 233-run target with panache and dominance, prolonging Bangladesh’s wait for their elusive maiden win over New Zealand on their soil.

Guptill’s batting did not reek of the usual fluency. Rather, it was more of an assured knock considering the testing nature of the surface. On a stop start surface, despite the Bangladesh spinners accounting for some disciplined bowling, Guptill triumphed and guided New Zealand to a 1-0 lead.

“Today wasn’t a wicket where you could hit through the line of the ball,” Guptill said of his 116-ball 117 on Wednesday. “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.”

Guptill credited Bangladesh for their effort, mostly with the ball even though the visitors were equally inspiring with the bat. Having slumped to 94 for 6, they recovered splendidly through Mohammad Mithun’s half-century and a 58-ball 41 from Mohammad Saifuddin who led the recovery for Bangladesh to post 232. With the ball, they kept in tight in the first ten overs, making Guptill and the rest work hard for their runs.

“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.”

Guptill remained unbeaten on 117 off 116 balls with eight boundaries and four sixes and the opener was satisfied to have come back after tweaking his back in fine fashion.

“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. 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.”

The last time Napier hosted an ODI was the first game of the India series, where sunstrike had stopped the game for 45 minutes. It was on the cards again, but Guptill explained how it wasn’t too severe for the game to pause.

“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.”