Guptill Stars As New Zealand Hold Off Spirited Scotland

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Guptill stars as New Zealand hold off spirited Scotland. Guptill made 93 off 56 to help New Zealand recover from 52 for 3.

Guptill Stars As New Zealand Hold Off Spirited ScotlandGuptill made 93 off 56 to help New Zealand recover from 52 for 3.

New Zealand ensured their semifinal hopes are in their own hands following a tight 16-run win over Scotland in Dubai on Wednesday (November 3). With India and Afghanistan closely monitoring them ahead of their own clash, New Zealand managed to overcome some nervy moments to seal the win.

What nervy moment?

Even though Martin Guptill got going right from the start, Scotland were in command of the contest in the first half of New Zealand's innings. Safyaan Sharif trapped Daryl Mitchell leg-before-wicket for 15 before getting rid of Kane Williamson for a duck in the same over. There was a slice of luck involved in the dismissal as the New Zealand skipper got a feather to a delivery that was bowled down the leg side. But an upbeat Scotland continued to impose themselves as Devon Conway managed a glove through to the keeper while attempting a reverse sweep. The flurry of wickets forced New Zealand to retreat as they nudged to 70/3 at the halfway mark.

The recovery

Guptill then took centerstage and spoiled Scotland's hopes of taking full control of the game. For someone who has a poor record in Asia, Guptill stepped up at the right time for his side and turned the contest on its head. While Glenn Phillips was subdued at the other end, it was Guptill who did the bulk of the damage. The two batsmen added 105 for the fourth wicket with Guptill clearing the ropes seven times despite visibly struggling in the heat. Eventually, in his attempt to smash his eighth six, Guptill fell for 93. Phillips failed to get moving as well at the death as Scotland managed to slightly pull things back to keep New Zealand to 172.

Nervy moment number 2

Despite Kyle Coetzer's departure for 17, Scotland got off to a very positive start in the run chase. Scoring only 28 runs in the first five overs, they needed a massive lift which was provided by Matthew Cross in the final over of the powerplay. He swatted Adam Milne aside for five successive boundaries to stun the New Zealand camp and, at the other end, the George Munsey threat loomed large with the spinners coming into play. Munsey was the key for Scotland to take on Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, especially while targetting the shorter boundary. He took on Sodhi to smash him for two consecutive sixes but just when it appeared that New Zealand would lose their way, they managed to get rid of the threat. Munsey hit a full toss straight towards long-on where Tim Southee took a brilliant catch to pull his side back.

New Zealand take control

From there on, it was one-way traffic. New Zealand took full control of the game with both Sodhi and Santner limiting the run flow. Santner in particular was very miserly and the pressure resulted in Cross losing his stumps to Southee. Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod also failed to make an impact as they struggled to find the boundaries regularly in those middle overs with the required run rate constantly mounting.

Did NZ have it easy in the end?

Not at all. Nervy moment number 3 came out of nowhere right at the death. The equation in the final four overs heavily favoured New Zealand as the Scottish side needed 65 from 24 deliveries having lost half the side. But then Michael Leask took charge of the proceedings and showcased why he should have been promoted a little earlier. He spoiled Sodhi's figures in the 18th over with a flurry of boundaries and rounded off the penultimate over with another six to keep the flame flickering. But 26 off 6 balls proved to be too much in the end even for someone striking at over 200 as New Zealand held on for the 16-run win.

Brief scores: New Zealand 172/5 in 20 overs (Martin Guptill 93, Glenn Phillips 33; Safyaan Sharif 2-28) beat Scotland156/5 in 20 overs (Michael Leask 42*, Matthew Cross 27; Trent Boult 2-29) by 16 runs.

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