Guptill returns to form as NZ edge Australia

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DUNEDIN: Martin Guptill fell short of a third Twenty20 International century but his strong return to form helped New Zealand to a four-run win over Australia in the second match in Dunedin on Thursday.

New Zealand extended their lead to 2-0 in the five-match series after their 53-run win in Christchurch.

Opener Guptill smashed 97 off 50 balls and shared in a 131-run partnership with captain Kane Williamson (53) as New Zealand put 219 for seven on the board and set an imposing chase in front of a sell-out crowd at the University Oval.

“Outstanding knock from Martin,” Williamson said. “The presence he brings at the top of the order along with that power game that he has, it was great to see that today.”

Guptill’s knock ended a run of low scores after he was out for a duck in Christchurch and made a total of 46 runs in three T20 Internationals against Pakistan in December.

“I’m a little bit cooked at the moment but it’s nice to get some runs and another win,” said the 34-year-old. “My mind has been clear. Things just haven’t gone my way.”

While Guptill was relieved, Australia captain Aaron Finch’s struggles continued with his dismissal for 12 by legspinner Ish Sodhi.

Finch scored one run in Christchurch and was passed over in the Indian Premier League auction after managing just 179 runs at 13.76 from 13 innings in a poor Big Bash League campaign for the Melbourne Renegades.

New Zealand’s bowlers looked set to wrap the match up quickly when Mitch Santner (4-31) reduced Australia to 113 for six, having both Ashton Agar and Mitchell Marsh out for ducks in consecutive balls.

But Marcus Stoinis (78) and Daniel Sams (41) threatened to steal the match as they attacked the short boundaries with gusto in a quickfire 92-run partnership.

Australia needed 15 runs off the last over but James Neesham had Sams caught in front of the deep midwicket boundary with the first ball.

Stoinis needed a six and a four in two balls to win the game but was caught slogging to long-on as Australia finished 215 for eight.

“I thought we didn’t bowl too badly today,” said Finch. “But Guptill played a brilliant innings in that partnership with Kane, built a lot of momentum.”

The series continues at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on March 3.

Scoreboard

NEW ZEALAND:

M.J. Guptill c Stoinis b Sams 97

T.L. Seifert c Finch b K. Richardson 3

K.S. Williamson b Zampa 53

J.D.S. Neesham not out 45

G.D. Phillips b J. Richardson 8

D.P. Conway c Zampa b K. Richardson 2

M.J. Santner c Maxwell b Richardson 0

T.G. Southee run out 6

K.A. Jamieson not out 0

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-4) 5

TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 219

FALL OF WKTS: 1-20, 2-151, 3-173, 4-190, 5-198, 6-199, 7-213

DID NOT BAT: I.S. Sodhi, T.A. Boult.

BOWLING: Sams 4-0-46-1 (1w); Agar

3-0-30-0; J.A. Richardson 4-0-39-1 (1w), K.W. Richardson 4-0-43-3 (1w); Zampa

4-0-43-1 (1w); Stoinis 1-0-17-0.

AUSTRALIA:

M.S. Wade c Williamson b Southee 24

A.J. Finch c Phillips b Sodhi 12

J.R. Philippe c Conway b Santner 45

G.D. Maxwell c Sodhi b Santner 3

M.P. Stoinis c Southee b Neesham 78

A.C. Agar c Conway b Santner 0

M.R. Marsh c Seifert b Santner 0

D.R. Sams c Phillips b Neesham 41

J.A. Richardson not out 4

K.W Richardson not out 0

EXTRAS (W-7, NB-1) 8

TOTAL (for eight wkts, 20 overs) 215

FALL OF WKTS: 1-34, 2-70, 3-87, 4-112, 5-113, 6-113, 7-205, 8-211.

DID NOT BAT: A. Zampa.

BOWLING: Southee 4-0-47-1 (1w); Boult 4-0-30-0 (2w); Jamieson 4-0-56-0 (1nb, 1w); Santner 4-0-31-4 (1w); Sodhi 3-0-41-1; Neesham 1-0-10-2.

RESULT: New Zealand won by four runs to lead five-match series 2-0

UMPIRES: S.B. Haig (New Zealand) and C.B. Gaffaney (New Zealand).

TV UMPIRE: C.M. Brown (New Zealand).

MATCH REFEREE: J.J. Crowe (New Zealand).

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Martin Guptill.

NEXT MATCH: Wellington (Westpac Stadium), March 3 (11:00am PST).