Kane Williamson lavished praise on Martin Guptill for his brilliant efforts with the bat in his comeback One Day International against Sri Lanka, as his stunning innings helped New Zealand to get 2019 off to an emphatic start by winning the first ODI of the 45 runs at Bay Oval on Thursday (January 3).
Guptill played a magnificent knock of 138 off 139 deliveries laced with 11 fours and 5 maximums to announce a resounding comeback into the game after returning from a tough period battling injuries.
Besides Guptill, another comeback man James Neesham also made a match-changing contribution in the team's victory in the series opener of the three-match series against Lanka.
Williamson told reporters at the post-match presentation ceremony, “Guptill's hundred set the base, he's a world-class player. The lower and middle order came in and really pushed the total to an area of real strength on a surface that was very good for batting. Neesham's was a match-changing contribution and he bowled extremely well too. Lots of good contributions to get us over the line.”
Meanwhile, Guptill is delighted with his comeback show with the willow and his contribution in the team’s cause, saying it was nice to spend time out and express himself in the middle against the Islanders. He also credited the big partnerships at the Bay Oval for the first ODI success here.
Guptill said, “I just wanted to get back in there and have a bit of fun. I did a lot of hard work to come around and everything is fine with my injuries now. It was nice to spend time out in the middle and create a couple of good partnerships that set the innings up - I think that was the key today. The big partnership between Kane and I, then Ross and I, then obviously Jimmy's hitting at the end was the key to getting us over that 350-mark.”
He also lauded Neesham’s all-rounder show in the series opener, as the all-rounder scored brilliant 47* and even took 3 wickets and stitched a valuable partnership with him to help the Black Caps to win the first ODI against Lanka on Thursday.
Guptill signed off by saying, “That was pretty impressive hitting. He strikes the ball as clean as anyone and he came out and bowled extremely well too - I haven't seen him bowl like that for a long time. Nice to have him back and firing.”
(With Cricketnext Inputs)