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The best Black Caps ODI innings

Martin Guptill did it again. His superb 180 on a slow Seddon Park pitch last night now means the Black Caps opener holds the top three spots in the list of New Zealand's highest ODI scores.

But where does it rank amongst the best?

Considering opposition, the occasion and the situation of the match, Guptill's innings last night is up there with the best by a New Zealander.

We rank the top knocks:

Martin Guptill jubilant after scoring his double-century against the West Indies. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Martin Guptill jubilant after scoring his double-century against the West Indies. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Martin Guptill 237* v West Indies, Wellington (2015 CWC)

Look at that number 237 and consider this - New Zealand as a team has been bowled out for less than that number 178 times. Guptill's 237 included 24 fours and 11 sixes and is the highest World Cup score and the second highest ever ODI score. The occasion was huge, a World Cup quarter-final on home soil, and the second half of the innings where he scored 137 from 53 balls is quite possibly the best ever batting seen in the ODI format.

Grant Elliott 84* v South Africa, Auckland (2015 CWC)

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Well two hours and change. With New Zealand seeking their first ever spot in a Cricket World Cup final who would have thought that it would have been Grant Elliott, the last man selected in the squad, to lead them there? Considering the occasion and the opposition, Elliott's innings is right up there. He was measured throughout his knock before hitting the greatest six in New Zealand history to complete the dramatic victory.

Grant Elliott helps up a upset Dale Steyn of South Africa after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Grant Elliott helps up a upset Dale Steyn of South Africa after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Stephen Fleming 134* v South Africa, Wanderers (2007 CWC)

Despite being a pool game it was a must-win for the Black Caps after forfeiting their previous match in Kenya. A win looked unlikely having to chase a score 17 runs more than South Africa actually made, thanks to Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis, but Fleming silenced the packed Wanderers by scoring his fourth century in what would be his finest innings. The stat that stands out is the 21 fours Fleming scored, which was the highest by a New Zealand batsman until Guptill's 237.

Guptill 180* v South Africa, Hamilton, 2017

Considering pundits before the match said 240 would be a good score it's staggering that a player finished with 180 from just 138 balls but once Guptill gets into the zone the pitch doesn't really matter. Once again Guptill produced pure clean hitting off a strong bowling attack with 11 sixes, five of which from the bowling of Imran Tahir, the top ranked bowler in the world. And once again he saw out the innings to finish not out - the third time he's scored 180 or more without being dismissed. The only other player to do it at least twice - Sachin Tendulkar.

Andrew Alderson: Never take Guptill for granted

Guptill 103* v England, Lord's 2013
Guptill 189* v England, Southampton, 2013

Cricket is a team game but an individual can certainly win a match, and on this case also a series. Guptill's 103 off 123 saw New Zealand chase down 231 to win the opening game of the three-match series against England. The occasion was not up there with a Cricket World Cup match but the setting of Lord's is treasured by every cricketer. Three days later Guptill ensured the hosts had very little chance of winning the series before they'd even padded up for a second time. His 189 not out from 155 balls was at the time New Zealand's highest ODI score - until he broke it again at the 2015 World Cup.

Over the two innings he scored 292 from 278 balls and New Zealand, or should that be Guptill, was 2-0 up in the series. Job done.

Martin Crowe 100* v Australia (1992 CWC)

Set the tone for a marvellous tournament, Crowe's batting and innovative captaincy leading New Zealand to a 37 run win over the tournament favourites. Crowe's masterful century came off 134 deliveries, and gave both him and his team the confidence to go on a seven game winning streak before they were halted by winners Pakistan. But this was Crowe's tournament, his 114 average and 91 strike rate exceptional by any standards.

Martin Crowe on his way to a century against Australia. Photo / NZ Herald
Martin Crowe on his way to a century against Australia. Photo / NZ Herald

Ross Taylor 131* v Pakistan, Pallekelle (2011 CWC)

Taylor produced an innings of two bizarre halves to help beat Pakistan and bolster fading public belief in the team's chances at the 2011 World Cup. The innings lasted 124 balls but was split into 76 runs from 111 and ... 55 from 13. That surreal baker's dozen from Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq produced four fours and six sixes. Akhtar's ninth over went for 28 runs; Razzaq's fourth went for 30. Any doubts about Taylor's ability to lead from the front were laid to rest on what was also his 27th birthday.

Lance Cairns 52 v Australia, MCG, 1983

Truly unforgettable - a contender for most-loved innings by a Kiwi batsman. Cairns had 44 from 14 deliveries at one stage, before slowing up just a tad in front of 71,000 delirious spectators. The great Dennis Lillee bounced Cairns, hitting his head. Cairns bounced back, flicking a one handed six off the great fast bowler. He hit six sixes in 10 balls using his custom-made "Excalibur" weapon. New Zealand got smashed. No one cared.

Chris Cairns 102 not out v India, 2000, Nairobi

Cairns was the architect behind New Zealand's first tournament win, beating India in the final of the ICC KnockOut (which morphed into the Champions Trophy). The century had Cairns' signature; a peppering of boundaries through the cover to mid-on arc. Even leg spinning legend Anil Kumble needed a taxi to collect his offerings as they disappeared over the Gymkhana Club fence. Cairns' flick off the hip to long leg with two balls to spare saw New Zealand home. His run down the wicket with arms spread personified unbridled joy.

Craig McMillan 117 v Australia, 2007, Hamilton

McMillan came to the wicket with New Zealand flailing at 41 for four in the 10th over and played an innings of cold fury. He used his weighty blade - the "Smasher" - to slap Australians around Seddon Park in what seemed a futile chase for 347. New Zealand got there (350 for nine in 49.3 overs) because McMillan gave them belief. When he came to the wicket, they needed 306 runs at 7.49 an over; when he left they needed 66 runs at 7.61. He'd sustained a run rate of 7.46.

Craig McMillan at his belligerent best against Australia. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Craig McMillan at his belligerent best against Australia. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Brendon McCullum 59 v South Africa, Auckland, 2015 CWC

It may go down as the most under-rated or forgotten great innings in New Zealand ODI history. Everyone will remember the Elliott six but it was McCullum's 59 off 26 balls at the top of the innings that gave New Zealand any chance of chasing down the 299 from 43 overs to reach the World Cup final. He hit 25 off one Dale Steyn over at took the Black Caps to 71-0 after five overs. He was out soon after but it took the pressure off the middle order and allowed Elliott and Corey Anderson to steady the innings and complete the famous win.

Honourable mentions
Brendon McCullum 77 v England, Wellington, 2015 CWC
Chris Cairns 102* v South Africa, Brisbane, 2002
Mark Greatbatch 68 v South Africa, 1992 CWC
Scott Styris 101 v Australia, Christchurch, 2005
Nathan Astle 122 v England, 2002, Dunedin
Glenn Turner 114 not v India, Manchester

- NZ Herald

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