Playing in his second IPL game of the season, Martin Guptill played a vital knock for Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
Consigned to the sidelines, Guptill has been a spectator to Mumbai’s inability to conjure up a solid opening stand. Skipper Rohit Sharma has been the only consistent batsman so far, as his opening partnership with Parthiv Patel hasn’t clicked.
On Sunday, with Guptill opening the innings with Rohit, Mumbai got off to a sound start in the must-win game. Guptill and Rohit shared a 46-run opening partnership, and it was only the second instance this season when Mumbai’s opening pair had a double-digit stand.
Guptill played a rock-solid knock of 48 in 42 balls, and it proved crucial to the cause of the team. His 98-run partnership with Krunal Pandya (86) was the backbone of Mumbai’s batting effort.
The wicket at Visakhapatnam has been slow, and the turn it offers left Mumbai in a fix in the first two games they played here.
After the previous match, the skipper had pointed to the need to play out the initial overs on the slow track. It is a process Mumbai’s batsmen have failed to follow, and Rohit’s dismissal has invariably brought the batting to its knees.
On Sunday, Guptill’s effort ensured there was no such trouble. He kept calm and grinded it out. The knock gave Pandya the liberty to cut loose and lead Mumbai to a 200-plus total.
Guptill, who hit an unbeaten 237 for New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal, played a knock which was unlike his reputation. The 29-year-old is among the many international stars underused in the IPL this season.
A little late in the day, but his knock seems to have provided Mumbai the missing link in their batting order.