It was a batting masterclass, or to put it this way, attacking masterclass when New Zealand were batting during the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Mount Maunganui. Martin Guptill provided the perfect platform with a brilliant 138, and it was taken forward by skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, who scored 76 and 54 at a really good strike rate. But the finishing touch, which was best of the lot, was provided by James Neesham.
The all-rounder, playing his first game in over a year, ripped apart the Sri Lankan bowling line-up with an absolute pelter of a performance. He scored 47 from a mere 13 balls, helping his side to post 371 for 7 in their 50 overs.
Highlight of his knock was the five sixes he scored in as many deliveries in the penultimate over of the innings bowled by Thisara Perera. In the first five deliveries of the over, he hit the ball ball all over the park, much to the shock on the faces of Sri Lankans and delight on the face of New Zealand fans.
His knock, along with his three wickets with the ball, helped the hosts beat Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for 326, by 45 runs. Guptill was given the Man of the Match award for his century.
During the fixture, the opener also reached a landmark. He became the eighth fastest player to reach 6000 runs in ODIs, and beat the likes of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni to this feat. The 32-year-old joined the 6k club in his 157th innings, which puts him eight in the list.
South Africa's Hashim Amla is the fastest to 6000 runs, having achieved it in just 123 innings. He is followed by Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who reached the landmark in his 136th innings. Rohit Sharma had entered the 6k club in his 162nd innings, while Dhoni did it in his 166th innings.