New Zealand completed the semi-final line-up at the #Cricket World Cup, with a comprehensive victory over the West Indies in Wellington earlier today. Their massive score of 393-6 was largely as a result of an outstanding individual innings by Martin Guptill, with his unbeaten 237 score exceeding the World Cup record set by a man playing on the opposition side today, Chris Gayle. The Caribbean side's opener would have been impressed by Guptill's mammoth knock, but then saddened by the failure of his own team to match the Black Caps' when they batted, falling to a 143-run defeat.
The home side have been in a positive mindset throughout the tournament so far, matching the Indians in the other pool by winning all 6 of their group matches, prior to the quarter-final.
They elected to bat first against the West Indies, which could have backfired as they lost Brendon McCullum for just 12. His fellow opener, Guptill looked to be in good form though even when Kane Williamson departed with the score on 89-2, although he had a 'life' on four himself when Marlon Samuels dropped a catch. Williamson's wicket brought Ross Taylor to the wicket and between himself and Guptill they began to take the match away from the Windies, putting on 143 for the third wicket.
The opener was unperturbed by events at the other end as he continued to pile on the runs and make the opposition bowlers suffer. He found enough support lower down the batting to enable his innings to flourish, plundering a mighty 137 runs from the Windies' final 52 deliveries, as they were quite simply unable to stem the runs. At the close he had hit a remarkable 237 off just 163 balls, with his power hitting reflected by the frightening statistic of 11 sixes and 24 fours during his time in the middle.
Jerome Taylor's three wickets for the West Indies were expensively earned, as his seven overs cost 71 runs.
Andre Russell also took wickets, two to be precise, but will not enjoy reviewing his ten overs for 96 runs with any great pleasure, not that the rest of the bowlers came away with any great distinction for their efforts.
It was an extremely tall order for the West Indies to chase such a high score, but they gave of their best with the bat in hand, maintaining the required rate for much of their (albeit shortened) innings. The mainstay of their ultimately fruitless effort was Gayle, who partly inspired no doubt by Guptill's heroics (which he sportingly acknowledged at the time) made a more than respectable 61 from only 33 balls. That quickfire knock included eight sixes and kept the crowd well entertained. His side required far more from him though if they were ever to get near to the total of the New Zealanders and, despite some mighty hitting lower down the order, were finally dismissed for 250 in 30.3 overs. Jonathan Carter (32) and Jason Holder (42) made the score more respectable, but the writing was on the wall long before the final wicket fell.
Trent Boult continued his fine form with the ball in the tournament, taking 4-44, with Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori chipping in with two wickets apiece..
Guptill could not quite match the all-time ODI record of Rohit Sharma, whose 264 against Sri Lanka last year remained intact in the record books. He did go second though, among an elite group of just five men (Sharma has achieved the feat twice) who have notched double centuries in the one-day format of the game.The Kiwis will meet South Africa on Tuesday in Auckland in the semis, with both teams looking to make their very first World Cup final.