Guptill aces Wizards with century
A Martin Guptill special muscled the Auckland Aces to a four-wicket victory in a pulsating HRV Cup Twenty20 match against the Canterbury Wizards at Rangiora today.
The international unleashed the heavy artillery to bludgeon a frenetic 120 not out off 60 balls as the Aces ran down the Wizards’ 183 for nine off the final ball of the game at Mainpower Oval.
Guptill was denied the opportunity to ice the victory cake, which instead fell to Ronnie Hira, who belted a six over long on off the only ball he faced when the Aces required a single from the final delivery to seal victory.
Guptill’s extraordinary innings, the highest in domestic Twenty20 history, contained eight sixes and six fours as he targeted the boundary in an arc from long on to square leg.
His bellicose hitting saw two balls lost during a maiden Twenty20 century which the Wizards were powerless to prevent.
Australian import Claydon Mitchell and busy offspinner Rob Nicol were outstanding for the home side, solidly built seamer Claydon reducing the Aces to 18 for two inside three overs as he completed his opening spell with figures of two for nine.
He returned later as the heat went on to concede just six and seven runs respectively from the 16th and 18th overs to finish with two for 22 from his four overs.
Nicol, too, impressed in returning figures of two for 25 off four, but the other Wizards bowlers suffered at the hands of Guptill, who took no prisoners.
The next highest scorer was Anaru Kitchen with 25 while left-hander Colin Munro contributed 13 to a sixth wicket stand of 67 totally dominated by Guptill.
Earlier, the Wizards performed well with the bat when they were best served by skipper Peter Fulton, who made 45 off 28 balls, Dean Brownlie, who smote three sixes in a 20-ball 42, opener George Worker with 41 off 28, and Claydon, who cleared the boundary twice in the last over to end unbeaten on 15 off four balls.
Kyle Mills was the pick of the Aces bowlers with figures of two for 29 off four, while Michael Bates returned two for 32 off a similar workload and Colin de Grandhomme took two for 20 off two.