The first limited-overs game of the New Year witnessed a special moment for Martin Guptill during the first ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Mount Maunganui. Guptill, who had missed the last couple of months due to an injury, became the fifth New Zealand player to go past 6000 runs in ODIs. The right-handed opener reached the landmark in style by carving Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Pradeep to the deep backward point fence for a boundary. New Zealand chose to bat and both Guptill and Kane Williamson notched up a fifty-plus partnership in the first of three ODIs. New Zealand won the Test series 1-0 after winning the Christchurch Test by a record margin of 423 runs, securing a fourth straight series win for the first time in history.
Guptill joins former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, Ross Taylor, Nathan Astle and Brendon McCullum as the other players to have gone past 6000 runs. Fleming leads the runs tally for New Zealand with 8007 runs while Taylor leads the century tally in ODIs with 19.
In the 2015 World Cup, Guptill created history by smashing an unbeaten 237 in the quarterfinal against West Indies at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The right-hander’s score was the second-best individual score in ODIs behind Rohit Sharma’s 264 and it was the highest score in the history of the World Cup. His knock included 24 fours and 11 sixes as New Zealand won the match by 143 runs. Guptill’s knock remains the highest individual score by a New Zealand cricketer in ODIs.
Guptill continued to target the Sri Lanka bowlers as he notched up his 14th century. He blasted five sixes and looked good to score yet another double century but he fell for 138. Along the way, Guptill went past McCullum's tally of runs to finish as the fourth-highest run-getter for New Zealand in the ODI format.
The right-handed opener had missed the ODI series against Pakistan after suffering a calf injury. New Zealand drew the series 1-1 and in the ongoing Super Smash tournament, which is New Zealand’s Premier T20 tournament, Guptill was asked to show his fitness. In the game against Central Districts, Guptill blasted 71 for Auckland and it was his first competitive score ever since he played for the Barbados Tridents in the 2018 Caribbean Premier League.
The three-match ODI series is being viewed as a dress rehearsal between the two sides but after the end of the series, New Zealand face a tough assignment against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team side.