New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell heaped praise on James Neesham after his team defeated England by five wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi to book their berth in the T20 World Cup final for the first time.
The Kiwis were behind the eighth-ball when James Neesham came to the crease as they required more than 14 runs/over.
However, the southpaw was able to turn the match on its head with his blistering batting as he hit the ground running. Neesham catapulted his attack on the England bowlers as soon as he came to the crease. New Zealand took 23 runs off the 18th over which was bowled by Chris Jordan and it was the turning point of the game.
Neesham scored a fine cameo of 27 runs off just 11 balls as he scored one four and three maximums to help the Kiwis get the required run-rate under control.
“The way Jimmy came out and struck the ball from ball one was pretty special and gave us the momentum for the final few overs,” Mitchell said after New Zealand reached the final, on Wednesday (November 10). “Once the rate gets up to that height, you try and make sure you get your match-ups that work for you and hit it as far as you can. It was nice to get a few out the middle, it was a struggle in the middle overs.”
On the other hand, Daryl Mitchell also played a match-winning knock of 72 runs off just 47 balls and helped his team get over the line. Mitchell added that it was pretty special to take his team over the line.
“Any game you win for your country is pretty special, let alone a World Cup semi. It’s obviously a great honour to represent my country at a World Cup – if you said this five, six years ago I would have laughed at you, so to be here sitting right now is awesome. It’s nice to get us over the line but we’ve got another big one coming up in a few days we’re pretty excited about.”
In fact, New Zealand was on the rope as they needed 57 runs off the last four overs. However, Mitchell added that they had the belief in the camp and it was a matter of getting one big over.
“It’s a bit of a blur but I imagine it was a hell of a game to watch. It’s a game of inches, that’s for sure. A couple of those sixes could have been a meter shorter and we might have been all out. But we knew if we kept it within certain numbers, we had a chance. It never felt like it was out of our grasp, especially with the smaller boundary on one side.”
New Zealand will meet the winner of the second semifinal between Pakistan and Australia in the final of the T20 World Cup.