Guptill's blazing 97 helps New Zealand edge Aussies


AFP, Dunedin

Veteran batsman Martin Guptill returned to form with a blistering 97 as New Zealand held on for a nail-biting win over Australia in the second Twenty20 international in Dunedin on Thursday.

Guptill's Black Caps set Australia a challenging target of 220 after losing the toss but were made to sweat as Australia came within four runs of victory.

Both sides took advantage of University Oval's short boundaries in a thrilling match that featured 30 sixes and 434 runs at an average of 10.9 an over.

Marcus Stoinis starred for the Australians with 78 from 37 balls but Guptill's 97 from 50 laid the foundation for New Zealand's win.

Black Caps spinner Mitchell Santner also shone amid the batting fireworks, taking four for 31, while Australian paceman Kane Richardson managed three for 43.

New Zealand allrounder Jimmy Neesham was another exceptional performer, taking two wickets in the final over when a rampant Australia needed 15 runs for victory.

Neesham also scored an undefeated 45, including six sixes.

The result puts New Zealand 2-0 up in the five-match series, on the brink of a shock win over the world's second-ranked Twenty20 team.

Guptill's innings gave him the record for the most sixes in Twenty20 internationals with 132, taking him past India's Rohit Sharma on 127.  The 34-year-old clubbed the ball over the boundary eight times, bludgeoning all comers in the Australian attack. 

He fell just short of his third Twenty20 century after being caught trying to hit a Daniel Sams delivery out of the ground.