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February 14, 2009
Daniel Vettori was desperate for a Chappell-Hadlee Series trophy but will settle for having a young side that is showing it can match the best teams in the world. New Zealand frightened Australia during the five-match contest and were only a few overs from being in a position to take the overall prize when rain intervened at the Gabba, ending their chase with 33 required from 36 balls.
Martin Guptill, the Auckland batsman in his seventh ODI, charged to an unbelievable 64 from 34 deliveries to set up the frenetic pursuit. "I feel pretty good at the moment," Guptill said. "I'm finding some good areas and hitting the ball cleanly. It was good to get a good score from so few balls."
Guptill launched his second delivery for six behind square leg and pulled Mitchell Johnson's opening offering into the grandstand. "I knew he was going to bounce me early," he said. "I saw it, went after it and it went into the first tier. That's one of the biggest hits in my career so far."
He sped to a half-century in 24 balls and with the debutant Brendon Diamanti took New Zealand closer to an out-of-reach victory. Guptill said the explosive performance "was an exception". "I'm attacking, but probably not that attacking," he said.
Vettori was amazed by the performance, calling it "some of the best strokeplay I've ever seen". "That was a fantastic innings," Vettori said. "It was some clean hitting and those are some pretty big boundaries he's clearing. Those are really big hits back in New Zealand."
In partnership with Diamanti, Guptill led his team to the verge of victory when the rain ended their 50-run stand. "That's pretty impressive doing that against Australia in a must-win situation," Vettori said.
Vettori saw plenty of good signs for the future in Brisbane, and during the series. "I'm happy that these guys keep turning up and performing," Vettori said. "If you look at the line-up Martin Guptill continues to impress, Grant Elliott had a successful series, Neil Broom has impressed me, Iain O'Brien has done a pretty good job with his role in the side.
"You throw in the likes of Styris, Oram and Ryder back in the mix and you have a nice group of 15 or 16 guys." After Sunday's Twenty20 New Zealand's next engagements are against India later in the month.
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