Guptill powers New Zealand to 16-run win over Scotland

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Martin Guptill smashed seven sixes before missing out on a century as New Zealand secured a 16-run victory over Scotland at the T20 World Cup on Wednesday.

Guptill made 93 runs off 56 balls in the Black Caps’ total of 172-5 in sweltering heat and humidity after fit-again Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer won the toss and chose to field.

In reply, Scotland finished on 156-5 for its third straight Group 2 defeat. Matthew Cross (27) hit five boundaries in one over against Adam Milne in the batting powerplay and Michael Leask scored a brisk 42 not out off 20 balls.

New Zealand’s experienced pacers, Trent Boult (2-29) and Tim Southee (1-24), bowled well but legspinner Ish Sodhi (2-42) proved expensive against Leask late in Scotland’s chase.

Guptill’s power-hitting rescued New Zealand but not before seamer Safyaan Sharif (2-28) had removed Daryl Mitchell for 13 and then found a faint edge from captain Kane Williamson (0) in the fifth over.

Devon Conway (1) fell to leftarm spinner Mark Watt’s first ball when he gloved a reverse sweep behind as New Zealand slipped to 52-3 at the start of the seventh over.

But Guptill then took charge in a 105-run partnership with Glenn Phillips (33).

Guptill became only the second batter to reach 3,000 runs in T20 internationals after India’s Virat Kohli (3,225) when he flicked Alasdair Evans to fine leg for a six early in his knock.

Guptill completed his half century off 35 balls before Scotland managed to fight back late in the innings by giving away only 22 runs in the last three overs.

Brad Wheal (2-40) was expensive, but removed both Phillips and Guptill off successive deliveries in the penultimate over with both batters holing out at long on while going for big shots.

New Zealand has four points from three games and needs to beat Afghanistan and Namibia in its last two group matches to guarantee a place in the semifinals. Pakistan, which beat New Zealand, has already qualified for the semifinals after winning four successive matches.

Scotland, which stormed into the Super 12s on the back of three successive victories in the qualifiers, also lost to both Namibia and Afghanistan and faces India and Pakistan in its last two group games.

New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell, right, talks with teammate Martin Guptill during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match between New Zealand and Scotland in Dubai, UAE, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

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