x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Guptill the rising star

Martin Guptill will get another chance today to prove why his captain Daniel Vettori regards him as a star in the making.

ABU DHABI // Martin Guptill, the emerging New Zealand batsman, will get another chance to prove why his captain Daniel Vettori regards him as a star in the making in this afternoon's Cool & Cool Cup decider. The Aucklander, 23, had already caught the eye in the series against Pakistan with his outstanding fielding when he confirmed his promise with a bold half-century in Friday's second one-day international.

He made a breezy 62 and his 126-run alliance with the centurion Brendon McCullum (131) was the bedrock for their side's 64-run series-levelling victory. Guptill's effort was a brave one, not least as it followed a low score on his previous outing. It included sixes off both Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi which sailed way back into the stands at the Zayed Stadium. Such audacity against a pair of spin bowlers who had cast a spell over New Zealand's batsmen in the opening game impressed Vettori. "It is his natural game, and when he plays that way it is the best way to go," Vettori said.

"He is really the star for us. He can play all the shots, he is very aggressive and he fields exceptionally well. He will be a real player for us in the future and we saw the best of him [on Friday] so hopefully that continues." Vettori hoped his batsmen, most of whom remain novices against spin, will follow the aggressive lead set by Guptill and McCullum this afternoon. "We are just getting confident. You play quality spinners more and more and guys get used to them and understand what they are trying to do," Vettori added.

"We don't have spinners like that back in New Zealand at all. For a lot of our guys it is the first time facing that quality of bowlers. The more you do it the easier it becomes." pradley@thenational.ae