Wellington: A jubilant New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said on Saturday that opener Martin Guptill’s innings will be etched in his memory forever.
Guptill hammered an unbeaten 237 off 163 deliveries to take New Zealand to 393/6 in the World Cup quarter-final. The Black Caps then followed up to bowl out the West Indies for 250, ensuring a comprehensive 143-run victory at the Wellington Regional Stadium here.
“The innings we have witnessed today is probably the best innings I have seen in my life in this form of the game, just sublime. I will never forget it. Everybody here feels the same I guess,” said McCullum at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Guptill's double century is now the second highest individual score in One-Day Internationals (ODI) after Rohit Sharma's 264. It is also the highest score by a player in World Cup history, overtaking Chris Gayle's 215 which the Jamaican scored against Zimbabwe earlier in the quadrennial event.
McCullum said given the way the team is structured, it allows him to play freely up-front adding that they would have to keep on playing aggressive cricket to beat the best.
“The way the team is structured allows me a bit of license at the start. Some days it comes off, some days it doesn't, but that's the way it is. We need to play aggressive cricket to compete with the world's best sides and I am sure the crowd is enjoying the way we are playing,” McCullum said.
During the second innings, veteran off-spinner Daniel Vettori clinched a stunner when he took a one-handed catch inches from the boundary rope to get rid of a dangerous looking Marlon Samuels.
Commenting on it, McCullum said: "Oh I didn't give Dan a chance. You saw the reaction from the boys, the way the boys ran from all over the field.”
Asked if this is the best ever New Zealand side, the skipper said it was difficult to compare different eras but this is the best side he has been a part of.
“It's pretty hard to compare eras. Some outstanding eras but certainly among teams I have played in, this is the best. No disrespect to the legends of the past but I am pretty pleased with the current team," he concluded.
New Zealand now play South Africa in the semi-final at Eden Park, Auckland, on Tuesday.