Jimmy Neesham’s Twitter bio reads: ‘I hit a ball with a stick’.
With one almighty hit from a cricket ball from England’s Jofra Archer in the Mound Stand at Lord’s in the super over of the 2019 World Cup final, Neesham left New Zealand with seven runs from four balls.
He remembers enjoying the feeling in front of a packed house, smiling and telling Martin Guptill how good it felt. That “it was one of those moments where you know you wouldn’t want to do anything else in the world.”
Still, Archer held his nerve for the next four deliveries and having scored more boundaries, it was England who were crowned world champions.
At 1:29 a.m. that evening, Neesham tweeted: “Kids, don’t play sports. Go bake or something. Die at sixty, really fat and happy.’
Jimmy Neesham is ready to go one step further and win the 2023 World Cup with New Zealand
New Zealand fell agonizingly short of glory four years ago as England triumphed in the super to claim the 2019 World Cup. Captain Eoin Morgan is pictured above raising the trophy
The trophy is once again up for grabs in India and Neesham is eager to bring the spirit of 2019
For a man who was so fed up with the game two years after missing the 2015 World Cup that he was ready to end his career – aged just 27 – Neesham thankfully stuck with it and then went within inches of winning. Zeeland the World Cup.
“I’ve come to accept it,” Neesham told Mail Sport from India. ‘I thought it would go away after a few years but people in England and Sky Sports like to replay it whenever they can – any rain delay and they throw the World Cup final on and Eoin Morgan is there on the telly talking about how good it was !
‘If I’m there, it’s inevitable that I’ll encounter it at some point. You have to accept that it is part of your career, but hopefully this time we will get a different kind of World Cup moment to remember.”
Today New Zealand start the 2023 World Cup with a repeat of that final when they take on Jos Buttler’s side in Ahmedabad.
Despite the emotions attached to that Sunday in 2019 – even Buttler admitted he wouldn’t know how he would play cricket again if England had lost – Neesham is adamant there is no sense of revenge or redemption.
In 2021, he took 27 from 10 in a T20 World Cup semi-final against England in Abu Dhabi but barely moved alongside Kane Williamson as the Kiwis knocked out Eoin Morgan’s side. “That tweet was raw emotion and an attempt to find humor in a difficult situation,” the 33-year-old said.
‘I had a rough few weeks after that. It was clearly a horrible way to lose a final. I’d rather lose by 50 runs and walk away knowing we’ve been well beaten.
The Black Caps will take on Jos Buttler’s England in their first match of the World Cup on Thursday
Neesham is an accomplished bowler and batsman and has become an important all-rounder for New Zealand
‘It took a while (to recover). You don’t spend time wallowing but it’s frustrating when you hear people talking about the game because it’s not how you remember it and obviously what we felt was vastly different to what the English boys felt. But in the context of this tournament we certainly don’t think about it.’
At least this time Neesham and New Zealand can rest assured that counting back the borders won’t cost them a World Cup. The ICC scrapped the idea after that final.
If a draw in a super-over follows a draw in the semi-final or final of an ICC tournament, teams will continue to play super-overs until there is a clear winner.
“God knows who ever thought counting borders was a good idea,” jokes Neesham.
In a similar fashion to England, most of the Black Caps squad are playing in their last ODI World Cup.
Despite reaching the last two 50-over finals – plus two semi-finals and a final in the last three T20 World Cups – Kane Williamson’s men are once again labeled as the ‘dark horses’ behind the likes of England, Australia and India.
“We’ve talked a lot about dark horses, but we’ve never thought much about them,” says Neesham. “In 2019, everyone said that the other three teams would want to play us in the semi-finals because we were the weakest team left. We went on to topple India and then emerged victorious in no time.
Neesham celebrates as he dismisses England star Jofra Archer in the 2019 World Cup final
England’s Ben Stokes is likely to miss the match due to a minor hip problem
“We didn’t pay much attention to it then and we certainly won’t pay it any more attention now.”
With a focus on their own abilities and a bit of luck along the way, Neesham is confident the time could finally be New Zealand.
‘We just need a little bit of luck, or just not a lot of bad luck! Once you get to the final four, anything can happen,” says Neesham.
‘At the next World Cup (in 2027) I will probably be in a commentary box and it will come full circle, so it would be nice to end on a good note. When you miss a World Cup like I did in 2015, there are always voices in the back of your mind wondering if this was your only chance, but to be able to go to two ODI World Cups and countless T20 World Cups is incredible. privilege.’