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Guptill puts Bears to the sword

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Tim Ambrose & Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill thumps a six en route to his highest score in this year's Friends Life t20. The New Zealander struck 72 from just 44 balls

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill mauled Warwickshire to give Derbyshire a six-wicket win in the Friends Life t20 North Group game at Highfield.

Guptill raced to his highest score for Derbyshire by smashing six sixes in a 44-ball 72 as the Falcons overhauled the Bears’ below-par 137 for four with seven balls to spare.

Jim Troughton had top scored with an unbeaten 55 from 41 balls but Warwickshire’s total never looked enough once Guptill found his range at the home of Leek Cricket Club.

The Falcons would have been chasing an even lower total if they had taken two chances offered by Troughton in successive overs.

Jon Clare allowed a drive to go through his hands when Troughton was on 12 and the left hander had another escape on 20 when he was dropped by Garry Park at long-on.

Those misses allowed Troughton and Darren Maddy to rebuild the innings after the Bears, who were without Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Chris Woakes, lost three wickets in the first six overs.

Neil Carter was stumped charging Wes Durston, Varun Chopra was run out going for a second and Clare clung onto a fierce return catch to remove Ireland captain Will Porterfield.

Another wicket then would have seriously undermined the Bears but Troughton made the most of his let-offs to dominate the rest of the innings.

He added 48 in seven overs with Maddy, who was stumped for 21 going for a big drive at Chesney Hughes, and reached his 50 by driving Steffan Jones for his second six.

Ex-Derbyshire skipper Rikki Clarke also cleared the ropes in his unbeaten 25 from 22 balls and his unbroken stand of 56 with Troughton at least gave the Bears a respectable total although it still looked at least 20 runs short.

It started to look totally inadequate as Guptill smashed three sixes in the first five overs including a straight drive over the pavilion off Keith Barker.

Guptill’s strokeplay helped the Falcons pass 50 in the eighth over before the Bears broke through.

Durston was lbw to Steffan Piolet for 22 and although Hughes went cheaply to the former Derbyshire spinner Ant Botha, Guptill made sure nothing would disrupt the Falcons’ flight.

After reaching his half-century from 34 balls, the Kiwi trod on the accelerator in the 14th over by pulling Piolet for two consecutive sixes.

While he then pulled Maddy’s first ball to wide long on, the damage had been done long before Ross Whiteley drove Barker for the winning boundary.

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