Martin Guptill is a shoo-in for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. The 26-year-old from Auckland hit back-to-back match-winning hundreds in the opening two One-Day Internationals against England and has almost single-handedly thrown their ICC Champions Trophy plans into disarray.
On Friday at Lord’s, he helped New Zealand easily overhaul England’s modest total of 227 by hitting an unbeaten 103 off 123 balls - bringing up his century with the winning hit - while on Sunday he matched Sir Viv Richards’ record for the highest score in an ODI in England by blazing 189 off only 155 balls. Not bad for a player who looked all at sea when recalled for the second Test at Headingley just a week earlier.
An analysis by Gareth Parry on his cricket blog www.cricket-stats.com has uncovered the method behind Guptill’s success. Two facts stand out in his breakdown of Guptill’s innings. One is the relatively low dot ball percentage of 44.6 per cent that put pressure on the England fielders, while the other is his high strike rate on the leg-side - emphasising an overwhelming strength that England’s bowlers, Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach in particular, fed.
Guptill has undoubtedly benefited from numerous other factors, besides England’s wayward bowling, in making his twin hundreds. The two new balls, expected to play such a huge role in ODI cricket in England, have swung little, while England’s fielding has been unusually poor; indeed he was dropped early on in both innings.
Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that only four men - Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Charles Coventry and Saeed Anwar - have made more than 189 in a single ODI innings. And Guptill made a hundred just two days earlier as well.
© Cricket World 2013
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