New Zealand opening batter Martin Guptill is looking to draw inspiration from the 2016 T20 World Cup in India and make an impact in the ongoing showpiece event in the UAE. The right-hander doesn’t have a great record in this country, having scored only 126 runs in nine T20 innings at an average of 14. However, he was New Zealand’s highest run-getter in the previous edition, slamming 140 runs in four innings at an average of 35 and strike rate of 157.30.
"Obviously I'd have liked to have gone better (in the UAE), but you know that's all in the past now. In the last World Cup, I think I was our top run-scorer in the T20 World Cup. I can draw some on that experience and that confidence that I've been able to do that before. So, I'm just looking forward to going out and doing my thing and just making sure I'm as positive as I can be at the top of the order," said Guptill.
Guptill looked in solid touch in the two warm-up games against Australia and England respectively. The 35-year-old scored 30 off 20 balls against Australia and then smashed 41 off 20 against England. In the absence of Kane Williamson, Guptill even captained New Zealand in their unofficial warm-up encounter against Netherlands.
"I feel not too bad to be honest. Nice to spend a little bit of time in the middle although I faced only 20 balls in each of the three games (including the unofficial warm-up against Netherlands). So, it will be nice to push on through that, but at the end of the day my role is to get the team off to a good start and I feel I did it in those three games.
"I feel like I've been a senior figure in the side for a while now. I've played over 300-odd games for New Zealand, so there's a few miles in the legs there. But, no, it is enjoyable. I did enjoy captaining the other day - it was a little bit different. I haven't done it for a few years since I last did at the CPL (for Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017). So, now to put the armband back on and just have a crack at it, albeit in a warm-up game, that was enjoyable."
New Zealand will start their campaign against Pakistan, who thumped India by 10 wickets on Sunday, in Sharjah on Tuesday. Guptill said the onus will be on the openers to make sure they don’t chew up too many deliveries in the powerplay as the scoring gets tougher and tougher as the innings progresses.
"Our (openers') role is to go out there and get the team off to a good start. We're trying to do the best we can throughout the tournament and, obviously, trends from Sharjah for our first game haven't been that high-scoring. We have to adapt our game to still be positive, but still look to score some runs off the powerplay."
There are some New Zealand players who even featured in the recently concluded IPL 2021 but Guptill said all the players are keeping themselves fresh and are ready to go.
“I can tell you we've got some pretty heated table tennis going on and I'm a way down the board, but I can still hear it. It can go up to sort of midnight-1am at certain times, but we're obviously exposed to foosball tables and dartboards that have turned up in the last couple of days as well. The boys are keeping their minds fresh and getting amongst each other and there's some coffee drinks going around as well.
“So, we're keeping fresh, not thinking about cricket too much. But now that cricket is on, the boys are getting stuck in and watching that as well. I had about five-six guys in my room yesterday (Saturday) for about half an hour or so watching the Australia-South Africa game. So, (it's) nice to have a few guys around so we're not sitting by ourselves."