Cricket-Guptill strikes highest World Cup score

By John Mehaffey WELLINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand opener Martin Guptill sent the ball soaring and the records tumbling by striking a World Cup record of 237 not out in a formidable total of 393 for six in the final quarter-final against West Indies on Saturday. Guptill bettered his own national record of 189 not out then overtook Chris Gayle's World Cup record of 215 set against Zimbabwe at the current tournament. His innings took 163 balls and included 24 boundaries and 11 sixes and he was also the first New Zealander to hit consecutive World Cup hundreds. West Indies were left ruing a dropped chance in the opening over from Jerome Taylor when Guptill, on four, hit the ball straight to Marlon Samuel who was slow to react and dropped the ball at square-leg. "It's a pretty cool feeling to be fair. the job is only half done and the bowlers have to go and finish it off," Guptill said in a pitchside interview. On a sunny day, albeit with a autumnal chill in the air at the Wellington Regional Stadium, Guptill added 143 for the third wicket with Ross Taylor after New Zealand's leading batsmen Brendon McCullum (12) and Kane Williamson (33) were back in the dressing room before the total had reached three figures. Captain McCullum, who won a rare toss, made a sedate start by his frenetic standards, running a quick single to get off the mark before whipping a four through square-leg followed by a six, the 400th of the tournament, which was caught in the crowd. He departed soon afterwards skying an ambitious lofted drive which was well held by West Indies's captain Jason Holder running away from the pitch at deep cover. Taylor, who had been short of runs and uncertain of technique during the group stage, played with increasing assurance after a slow start. He ran a series of quick singles and the score mounted steadily against steady but unthreatening bowling. Guptill brought up his half-century with seven fours and his century from 111 balls. He took 16 from a Taylor over and a huge six off Sulieman Benn before Taylor ran himself out for 42. Fifty one came off the batting powerplay before Corey Anderson, promoted in the order, was caught for 15. Grant Elliott joined in the fun with 27 from 20 balls. The West Indies' bowling and fielding disintegrated with 206 coming from the final 15 overs. Guptill took full advantage, hitting the first ball by Andre Russell in the final over 110 metres into the stands. Another six went over long-off, a four followed and the crowd rose again to Guptill as the teams left the field. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)