Martin Guptill came back to New Zealand side with a bang as the right-handed batsman struck unbeaten 180 runs to help his side overcome South Africa by seven wickets in the fourth game of the series played at Hamilton. Guptill finished the chase quickly as he smashed leg spinner Imran Tahir for consecutive sixes to finish on 180 runs off 138 balls.
New Zealand produced excellent performance at the half way mark to reduce South Africa to 158 for 6 before a classic rearguard action saw the visitors add another 120 odd runs to post 279 runs from 50 overs. Guptill started the chase well despite the early dismissal of Dean Brownlie in the initial overs of the innings.
Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson put on 72 runs before Tahir ended the partnership by dismissing Williamson who departed after scoring 21 runs. South Africa bowling did not adjust to the conditions well as they bowled at one pace and did not use variation to good effect like New Zealand showcased earlier.in the game. Guptill received a lease of life as he was adjudged leg before on 62 runs but a review by the batsman proved to be successful one as the ball was missing the stumps by a long way. Guptill notched his 12th ton off 82 balls as he added 106 runs with Ross Taylor to see the move an inch closer towards the target set by South Africa. Guptill remained unbeaten till the end to help New Zealand level the series 2-2 in the five-match series.
Earlier in the day, New Zealand employed an interesting tactics by opening with spinners on both ends. The ploy proved to have worked as opener Quinton de Kock departed in the first over of the innings for a duck. There was plenty of assistance for spinners as Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis try to build a platform as duo added 65 runs. Jeetan came into the attack and took out Amla in the 11th over.JP Duminy poor run of form continued as he departed after scoring just 25 runs bowled by Tim Southee.
Faf du Plessis showed his worth as a player as he scored a well-deserved half century on a tricky surface to hold the innings together for South Africa.du Plessis was dismissed at a time he looked set to score a big one. Miller also failed to score anything in this game as De Villiers still at the crease. De Villiers with the help of the lower-order produced a gritty performance to add another 100 runs. He remained unbeaten 72 runs off 59 balls and struck three sixes in an innings. Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell chipped in with crucial 20s to help the side get 279 runs from their 50 overs.
The series is evenly poised at 2-2 as South Africa will take on New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday.