Rain forced the fourth match between New Zealand and West Indies in Auckland to be abandoned after Martin Guptill created history by becoming the first New Zealand batsman to score a century on ODI debut. Guptill's unbeaten 122 was also the second highest score by a debutant and he led New Zealand to 275 for 4.
The game was well poised when a second rain interruption ended the match. West Indies had reached 64 without loss after 10.3 overs with Chris Gayle in control. He had hit a four and a six off consecutive balls moments before the second shower, and finished with 46 off 37 balls, including three sixes.
It was Guptill, however, who stole the show. He opened with Brendon McCullum and the pair did well to negotiate a new ball that was swinging a long way because of the overhead conditions. Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards were unlucky not to pick up early wickets, particularly that of Guptill, who was dropped three times before he reached 30. The first was a simple edge through to Denesh Ramdin off Powell when Guptill was on 15.
Guptill lost his opening partner McCullum, caught behind off Lionel Baker, in the 15th over for 26 with the total on 68. Matthew Sinclair soon became Baker's second victim. Baker bowled his 10 overs in one spell and helped restrict New Zealand's run-rate to less than four at the 25 over mark. He finished with 2 for 29 and was ably supported by Brendon Nash, whose 10 overs went for 43 runs after the first five cost only 13.
After Sinclair's dismissal, Ross Taylor joined Guptill and the pair added 144 for the third wicket. Taylor was the more aggressive of the two, but Guptill looked like an experienced international after a few early jitters. By the time Taylor fell for 75 off 87 deliveries, Guptill was in total control. He played some delightful cover drives and showed his class by placing the ball into gaps.
After the loss of Daniel Flynn in the 45th over, Guptill was joined by fellow debutant Neil Broom. From ball one, Broom showed his ability to score quickly, making an impressive 24 from 17 deliveries, including two sixes. Guptill also hit two sixes along with eight fours but his ability to pick up ones and twos at will was more impressive and something his team-mates could learn from.
When the rain came for the first time, the match was delicately poised, and West Indies needed 235 from 40 overs after the resumption. Tim Southee may have been the most relieved player when the game was abandoned. He had bowled three balls and Gayle had already hit him to and over the boundary. Kyle Mills had the figures of 30 for 0 in five overs and Mark Gillespie went for 23 off his five.
The series is now set up for a decider in Napier on Tuesday.