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Analysis

Martin Guptill feels the heat as New Zealand are made to sweat by Scotland

Important 93 proves enough to keep Kiwis on course for semi-finals despite tough conditions

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
03-Nov-2021
Martin Guptill nearly collapsed with exhaustion during his innings of 93 off 56 balls against Scotland and admitted that he felt "pretty cooked" after battling for 92 minutes in the heat and humidity of Dubai International Stadium.
New Zealand's eventual 16-run win was the first of three afternoon games that they are due to play in the space of five days and Guptill visibly struggled throughout the second half of his innings. His innings was vital in leading New Zealand to a defendable total after they had stuttered to 52 for 3 after 6.1 overs, with a 105-run stand in 12.2 overs with Auckland team-mate Glenn Phillips leading them to 172.
"It was warm," Guptill laughed in his post-match press conference. "It is challenging, especially when Glenn is trying to run two every ball. When you get down to the end of an innings, you're trying to hit as many runs as you can, swinging hard, and then trying to get back for twos as well.
"It takes it out of you: I had to come off halfway through the fielding innings with a bit of cramp. It was tough today. I've certainly played in hotter, but in T20 cricket, when you're running nearly every ball and trying to hit boundaries, it takes it out of you a lot more than it does back home."
Phillips struggled for timing throughout his innings of 33 off 37 balls, with a slog-swept six off Michael Leask's offspin his only boundary, but Guptill said that the pair had recognised the need to rebuild after losing early wickets.
"Scotland bowled very well up front and didn't allow us to get away quickly," he said. "To lose three wickets in the front six, it's always tough to come back from that, but I thought the way Glenn came out [was important]. We've played a lot of cricket together and it was nice to get a big partnership with him and set the team up for a match-winning total.
"It's never ideal losing three in the powerplay but it was all about just creating one big partnership to get us to a competitive total. They made it really tough for us to get away to an absolute flier. It was a bit of a - not quite a rescue mission, but Glenn and I had to assess the situation and put a partnership together."
Kane Williamson, New Zealand's captain, said that Guptill's first significant contribution - following scores of 17 and 20 - was a boost ahead of games against Namibia and Afghanistan, and said that he hoped his bowlers would learn from a "patchy" performance in Scotland's chase.
"He's a huge player for us, a real card player at the top of the order and he's been hitting the ball beautifully," Williamson said. "We've been on a variety of surfaces but it was great that he was able to make a huge contribution tonight - and really needed as well, because we were under pressure at the start of our innings.
"We certainly knew coming into this tournament that it doesn't matter who you face, there are match-winners out there. We certainly saw that on both sides today, and it ebbed and flowed. It was great we were able to get a pretty competitive first-innings total. We were a little bit patchy with the ball but we'll move on from this one and look to the next one. It all goes pretty quickly for us in this last half.
"Credit to the way Scotland came out and played. They did put us under pressure and certainly fired a number of shots and hit the ball out of the park beautifully. We were tested in a number of ways and for us it's about trying to learn from that and improve on that."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98