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Overseas duo continue to impress

Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja have re-signed for Derbyshire ahead of the 2012 season – and both have been piling on the runs in the Southern Hemisphere.

New Zealand international Guptill (pictured) will play for Derbyshire from the start of the season up to and including the Clydesdale Bank 40 match versus Sussex Sharks on 10th June; a total of nine LV = County Championship fixtures and five games in the 40-over competition.

Since departing the County Ground in September, Guptill has taken part in the Twenty20 Champions League and thrilled the Kiwi crowds with Auckland Aces as well as putting Zimbabwe to the sword on several occasions.

Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset were both too strong for the Aces at the qualifying stage of the Champions League, but they will get another crack at the competition after Guptill’s explosive form led them to a second successive HRV Cup title just a few months later.

Prior to that, Guptill scored 40 not out and watched from the non-strikers end as Brendan McCullum blasted 81 in an undefeated opening stand of 127 as New Zealand won the first Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe.

The Derbyshire opener then took centre-stage in the second match of the series with 67 as New Zealand won comfortably again.

Guptill then grabbed the domestic headlines with a sensational 120 from 60 balls in the HRV Cup victory over Canterbury, as well as scoring a further three explosive half-centuries during the competition.

In the longer form of the game, Guptill scored 109 in New Zealand’s one-off Test in Zimbabawe and inflicted further pain on the Canterbury bowlers with a magnificent 195 not out in a drawn Plunket Shield encounter in November.

But it is in the one-day international arena that Guptill has shown his class most impressively with scores of 74, 105, 70, 77 and most recently 91 off just 54 balls for the Black Caps against Zimbabwe.

Usman Khawaja will take over from Guptill ahead of the Friends Life t20 opener versus Lancashire Lightning on 14th June.

The 25-year-old Aussie has broadened his experience in the Test arena with five further appearances since departing the County Ground in June 2011.

A match-winning 65 as Australia upset the odds by scoring 310-8 in the fourth innings to win the Second Test versus South Africa was his finest hour in Test cricket to date.

And Khawaja has been piling on the runs in the first-class arena scoring 101 for the Australians versus Sri Lanka Board XI and 101 for New South Wales versus South Australia, maintaining his remarkable average of 53.51 despite the notoriously tough environment of the Sheffield Shield competition.

Even more impressive has been Khawaja’s impressive one-day performances with two stylish centuries in two appearances for New South Wales; 116 versus South Australia and 100 exactly in the recent Ryobi Cup match against Tasmania.

As well as the impending arrival of Guptill and Khawaja, the Falcons are also working on the signature of an additional overseas player for the Friends Life t20 competition.

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