Wellington, March 21:
New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill on Saturday said he was amused at West Indies opener Chris Gayle’s ‘welcome to the 200 league’ gesture after cracking a whirlwind knock of 237 runs in a cricket World Cup quarter-final here.
Guptill clobbered his way to an unbeaten 237 from 163 balls to record the highest individual score in World Cup history. The right-hander helped New Zealand beat the West Indies by 143 runs on Saturday.
Gayle belted 215 a few days back against Zimbabwe in a group stage encounter to set the highest individual score in a World Cup by a batsman, also becoming the first willower to hit a double hundred in the quadrennial event.
Guptill bettered Gayle’s record with his superb knock.
“Chris Gayle came up to me and said congratulations, welcome to the league. That was quite funny. But everyone was pretty congratulatory and just right behind him,” Guptill said of the opposition team at the post-match media conference.
Guptill said he was not under any pressure to play big shots and backed himself to play a long innings.
“From the start I just wanted to play each ball as it came. Once it got down to the last ten overs it was just to have a bit of fun and try to hit a few boundaries.
“There were a couple of good partnerships in the last ten overs which got us up to nearly 400,” he said.
He attributed his success to the tips given to him by the legendary Martin Crowe.
“(It was) Mainly footwork stuff and lining up the balls a bit better than I had been, trying to get the ball back a lot straighter instead of trying to play too square too early. That’s been the main things. I think it’s working pretty well at the moment.”
New Zealand will take on South Africa in the semi-final on Tuesday at the Eden Park, Auckland.
The 28-year-old said the stature of the match won’t affect their preparation and they are determined to negate any pressure whatsoever.
“Yeah, well, we’ll travel tomorrow and get up there and prepare for it like we have any other game in this tournament. We’ve got a lot of scouting to do of a quality South African side, and we’ll get a training in and then we’re into it.
“It’s going to be all go, but a lot of the guys are very excited at the opportunity. So, can’t wait,” he said. IANS