"Maaaartin Guptill," clap, clap, clap. "Maaaartin Guptill," clap, clap, clap. The chant reverberated around a jam-packed Cake Tin as an unlikely New Zealand batsman stood on the verge of a double-hundred. It was so loud the West Indian players couldn't communicate on the field. Sulieman Benn, at cover, was being signaled by his captain but he looked lost in the din. Andre Russell seemed to have had enough of the confusion and ran in to deliver, Guptill smashed the ball back over the bowler's head to move on to 203, and the Cake Tin shook once more.
The classical stroke
"And to clarify, the shot is called the back away, look away, deliberate cut through point " is how Glenn Maxwell described his bizarre boundary of Wahab Riaz in their quarter-final in Adelaide on Friday. Kane Williamson also hit a boundary through point in New Zealand's quarter-final against West Indies in Wellington, and it could not have been more different to Maxwell's smear. Williamson got on tiptoe, riding the bounce of a delivery that rose towards his chest and wasn't too wide, and punched in measured fashion. The ball split two fielders at point and sped away, the timing on it a thing of beauty.
The illegal run
In the 18th over of New Zealand's innings, Guptill dug out a yorker and then whirled around and hit the ball away because it was a bit close to the stumps. The ball trickled towards the wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who threw at the striker's end and conceded an overthrow. The amended Law 34, however, indicates no runs should be allowed if the batsman hits the ball a second time, even via overthrows, which were allowed before the amendment. The finer print eluded everyone involved in the play.
The catching lesson
It occurred in New Zealand's innings but it wasn't a West Indian fielder who took it. Brendon McCullum hooked a short ball from Jason Holder for six but the trajectory was flat and the ball didn't look like it was going to carry into the stands at long leg. A fan standing in the lowest tier in one of those orange t-shirts leant over the railing, stooped low and plucked it one-handed. He was far more alert than Marlon Samuels had been when he dropped Guptill on 4 in the first over.
The real thing
If New Zealand win the World Cup there will be a few million dollars to share among the players, but perhaps Daniel Vettori fancied bagging himself a little extra along the way by having a share of the prize pool the above gentleman is now a part of. Marlon Samuels' upper cut soared towards third man - initially it looked straight down Vettori's throat, then it looked like a sure six. In a split second, Vettori leapt off his feet, stuck his left hand in the air and plucked out the most incredible catch. For a second, time froze, almost in disbelief. Vettori stood there, hurling the ball nonchalantly into the air as team-mates sprinted from all corners to mob him. This tournament is very likely Vettori's last hurrah as a player. He's banking a few memories to take with him.
Chris Gayle could barely move, but he could still swing the bat. He had made a sedate start, reaching 1 off eight deliveries, before unleashing a pull stroke that went quicker than anyone could keep up with. Flashing off the blade, it skimmed a few metres off the ground before thudding into the concrete wall which runs around the bottom of the stands. A member of the stadium personnel had the fright of his life, just pulling his head out of the way at the last moment.