T20 World Cup: You don’t come halfway around the world just to win a semifinal, says Neesham

New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham said that one doesn’t fly half of the world to only win the semi-final in a World Cup. He added that his team has turned their focus on winning their maiden Men’s T20 World Cup final to be held in Dubai on Sunday. New Zealand had won the first semifinal in a thriller with Neesham turning the match’s fortune by slamming 27 off just 11 balls.

In the celebratory pictures, which have gone viral on social media, the whole of New Zealand dugout broke into celebrations as Daryl Mitchell hit the winning boundary. There were two people who sat quietly: captain Kane Williamson with a smile on his face while Neesham, surprisingly, had no expressions on his face and didn’t even move an inch. After the match ended, Neesham quoted that photo and wrote on Twitter, ‘Job finished? I don’t think so’.

“It’s a situation worthy of celebrating I guess, winning a semifinal, but you don’t come halfway around the world just to win a semifinal. We’ve got our sights pretty firmly set on the game in a few days’ time. I’m personally, and we as a team, are not getting ahead of ourselves. One game to go and I’m sure there will be a bigger outpouring of emotion if we manage to get across the line,” said Neesham to New Zealand Cricket (NZC).

Neesham, who was at the non-striker’s end during the Super Over when New Zealand came second best in the 2019 Cricket World Cup on the boundary-count rule, feels that creating strong plans has been at the forefront of New Zealand’s consistency in ICC events. “Look, I think we’re experienced at it. We’ve done so well and so consistently in tournaments across five or six years. We know how to I suppose hit the reset button and put a win or a loss behind us pretty quickly. We’ve got pretty robust strategies around how to prepare for games with scouting, planning, and all that kind of stuff. So, those strategies will all kick over the next couple of days and we will get back on the training paddock tomorrow I think, and prepare as best as we can.”

Talking about his match-winning partnership with Mitchell, who carried his bat through for an unbeaten 72 off 47 balls, Neesham revealed that he was trying to hit every ball he faced for a six. “I just said to Daz (Mitchell), I hit CJ (Chris Jordan) for a six second ball, and Daz sort of came down and said: ‘what do you think?’ I just said ‘I’m going to try and hit every ball for six’. It doesn’t always come out of the middle but chunked a couple and got enough to get over the rope. Ended up doing reasonably comfortably in the end.”

New Zealand will now face Australia in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.