The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 auction in Bengaluru is just ten days old, and swashbuckling New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill on Wednesday proved why Kings XI Punjab roped him for the tenth edition of the competition. Guptill looked in sparkling form for New Zealand in the fourth ODI against South Africa, scoring 138-ball 180 runs in Hamilton.
Guptill, without a shadow of doubt, is one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball against both spinners and pacers. When the ball is in his area, it disappears over the boundary line and sometimes also out of the ground for massive sixes. The same was witnessed in the fourth ODI when New Zealand were set up a target of 280 runs from 50 overs.
Opening the innings, New Zealand had to start on a bright note. Guptill did not waste much time as he began to use his bat as a hammer to destroy all South Africa bowlers. En-route to his majestic 180 runs, he did not spare any bowler, hitting them for 15 fours and 11 sixes.
The New Zealand team will be happy with his batting heroics, and his IPL team Kings XI Punjab, who purchased him for Rs 50 lakh in the IPL auction will be the most pleased.
IPL teams have not been eager to land the Kiwi batsman in the past. He was not picked in the IPL 2016 auction as well, but was brought in as Lendl Simmons' replacement by Mumbai Indians. Even in the IPL 2017 auction, Guptill was initially unsold, but later Kings XI Punjab signed the player when his name was introduced again in the auction.
After seeing Guptill's innings of 180 runs, some of the IPL teams must be regretting their decision not to pick him. However, Kings XI Punjab will be looking forward for similar performances in the franchise colours.
With Guptill in Kings XI squad, one thing is for sure that they have strengthened their batting line-up, which includes some quality players like David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Murali Vijay. Eoin Morgan was their other addition in the IPL 2017 auction.
If Guptill fires at the top of the order for Kings XI, they can have a great competition, and also hope to win their maiden IPL. With Guptill expected to open the innings alongside Vijay, the deadly combination will instil fear among bowlers.