Photo Credit: SA20 League
Pretoria Capitals all-rounder James Neesham just can’t catch a break.
Neesham has tasted some bitter defeats over the past few years. Not only was he part of the Capitals side that fell at the last hurdle against the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the inaugural Betway SA20 final at the Wanderers last season, but he was also famously at the crease during the epic Super Over of the 2019 ICC World Cup final when New Zealand tied with England at Lord’s.
England were crowned world champions instead of the Black Caps due to a higher boundary count.
Neesham found himself in a similar position last weekend in a hugely entertaining Trans-Tasman World Cup clash against Australia in Dharamshala.
In pursuit of a record 389 runs for victory, New Zealand were left needing 100 off the final 10 overs when Neesham started to make an impact.
The 33-year-old blasted 58 off 39 balls and ultimately reduced the target to seven off the final two deliveries.
Neesham could, however, not find the boundary off a Mitchell Starc full toss and only managed a bunt to the leg-side where Marnus Labuschagne returned the ball to run out the Kiwi, who was left sprawled on the turf in almost identical fashion to his former teammate Martin Guptill at Lord’s four years ago.
“Actually, that [2019 final] was the first thing I thought of when I was coming off, that it’s going to look very, very similar,” Neesham said.
“I mean that’s the nature, isn’t it? You want to be desperate, I suppose, in those situations, and you’d much rather get run out on your stomach than on your feet.
“You worked for six and a half hours during the day, and it comes down to potentially two deliveries. And four years ago, we worked for two months, and it came down to one delivery. It’s just the nature of the game.”
The experienced all-rounder believes these experiences have helped him adopt a very philosophical approach to the game.
“Obviously, I’m probably closer towards the back end of my career than I am to the front. So yeah, it doesn’t pay to stress too much on the results. I think everyone wants to win, and everyone’s desperate to win, especially in world tournaments, but that can’t dictate how you want to play the game. I think that’s one of the things you learn as you get a little bit older.” he added.
Neesham and the Black Caps will have another opportunity to secure their place in the World Cup semifinals when they face Temba Bavuma’s Proteas in Pune on Wednesday.