Martin Guptill was at deep backward square leg. And at first he didn’t quite catch where the ball was. Then he realised it was dribbling over to him. And that MS Dhoni was looking for a very difficult second run.
Guptill went full sprint at the ball, picked it up with his right hand, took aim while somehow retaining perfect balance and shot down the stumps at the keeper’s end to effectively seal New Zealand’s spot in the 2019 World Cup final. (It was also only the 16th time in 297 innings that Dhoni has been run out in a one-day international)
Until that moment though the New Zealand opener was having a horrible tournament. After an unbeaten 73 against Sri Lanka in New Zealand’s opening game, he racked up five single-digit scores in the next eight innings, with a highest score of 35.
“It’s bloody tough,” Guptill told 1 News. “You try not to read what people are writing and hear what people are saying, but it’s hard to tear away from it all.
“I’ve felt a little bit late on the ball in quite a few games, which is hard to deal with. You don’t want to move too early because then you get stuck.”
Guptill has one more chance to turn his form around, when New Zealand meet England in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.
“The last couple of nets I’ve probably felt the best I have since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of time in and for it not to be working out in the middle, it’s frustrating. People can say they’re frustrated with me, but no one is more frustrated than what I am.
“I’m just trying to carry on with what I’ve been doing, work hard in the nets and hopefully in the next game it all comes together.”
Ross Taylor, who spoke to the media at the end of the match against India, also backed Guptill to come good.
“Hopefully that’s a bit of luck that he takes from his fielding to his batting and maybe he can have a bit of luck and make the most of it.
“Cricket’s about small margins. When we came in to the huddle, the boys were joking that Gup always misses the stumps. When there’s a run out on, he always missed the stumps. All those misses over the years, he only hits when there’s nothing to worry about, but he did it now, and we celebrated accordingly and we’re very happy for him.” (ESPNCricinfo)