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Guptill fires as New Zealand beat Scotland, stay on semis trail

DUBAI :New Zealand opener Martin Guptill's 56-ball 93 helped them claim a 16-run victory over a spirited Scotland in the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Wednesday and improve their chances of reaching the semi-finals.

Asked to bat first, the Black Caps found themselves in a tricky position at 52-3 after the powerplay, with skipper Kane Williamson and Devon Conway falling cheaply, but Guptill and Glenn Phillips helped them reach 172-5 in 20 overs.

Guptill's effort helped him become the second batsman after India's Virat Kohli to cross 3,000 T20 international runs.

In response, Scotland managed 156-5 in 20 overs to hand their opponents - who thumped pre-tournament favourites India https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/new-zealand-beat-india-revive-t20-world-cup-campaign-2021-10-31/#:~:text=DUBAIper cent2Cper cent20Octper cent2031per cent20,inper cent20theper cent20tournamentper cent20onper cent20Sunday in the last game - their second victory of the tournament ahead of Super 12 stage matches against Namibia and Afghanistan.

Opener George Munsey (22) looked dangerous during his knock, which included two huge sixes off Ish Sodhi, and Matthew Cross (27) showed plenty of intent hitting Adam Milne for five consecutive boundaries.

But frequent wickets hurt Scotland and Michael Leask (42 not out) tried to force the issue late on only to fall short.

Earlier, Guptill took the attack to the Scottish bowlers en route to his 18th fifty in T20 internationals, plundering runs largely in the square-leg and mid-wicket regions with six boundaries and seven hits over the fence.

Clearly struggling in the Dubai heat, he looked poised to bring up his third T20 century while dealing only in big shots after two sixes in Safyaan Sharif's 16th over and another off Alasdair Evans to race into the 90s.

"I was pretty cooked. We've got a day off so I won't be doing much tomorrow," Guptill said. "We didn't have a great start, losing three wickets in the powerplay.

"Glenn and I had to assess the situation and get a partnership together. We created a bit of momentum."

Phillips played his role perfectly on a slow track as he rotated strike regularly during his 33 off 37 balls, before being caught at midwicket by Chris Greaves off paceman Brad Wheal in the 19th over.

That ended the New Zealand pair's superb 105-run stand for the fourth wicket, before Guptill joined Phillips back in the dugout in the very next ball as he tried to raise the scoring rate further.

Trent Boult (2-29) and Sodhi (2-42) secured the win which leaves New Zealand third in Group II, level on four points with Afghanistan and behind leaders Pakistan.

"Afghanistan are a great side - they've got match-winners throughout their order," Guptill said of their final Super 12 rivals. "We've got to be on top of our game and not take them lightly."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters

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