Martin Guptill used the occasion of the first T20I to be hosted at Dunedin's University Oval to announce that he's far from a spent force in the most dynamic form of the game.
Guptill scored 97 from just 50 balls. In doing so he struck eight sixes, taking him to 132 in T20Is, passing India's Rohit Sharma (127).
He was just inches from bringing up his third T20I century, being caught on the long off boundary when attempting his ninth six.
After a lean trot that extended to his form for Auckland in the Super Smash, Guptill had seen his stock on the T20 circuit fall.
He came into this match with perhaps as much pressure on his white-ball status as there ever has been. What he delivered was a wide-open window to his immense talent.
The first ball from Daniel Sams was overpitched and punched through the covers for four. Nothing too special about that except it was exactly the sort of ball – right in the Guptill wheelhouse – that the 34-year-old skewed into the hands of gully at Hagley Oval.
That one spark lit a fuse that ignited a series of signature lofted check-drives that nobody plays with such restrained power as Guptill. Once he got a few of those away he extended the arms, something like a golfer at the range going from hitting a bunch of punched wedges to pulling out the driver from the bag.
He reached 50 – his first at T20I level for 16 months – when New Zealand had 59 in total.
By then he had lost opening partner Tim Seifert but captain Kane Williamson was the perfect foil, feeding his partner the strike before calling on an eclectic range of shots himself as their partnership – already the most prolific historically for New Zealand in this format – passed 100.
It finally ended at 131 in just 11.3 overs of work.