On Wednesday, New Zealand entered their first-ever T20 World Cup finals after registering a stunning 5-wickets victory against England. Opener Daryl Mitchell and JImmy Neesham’s outstanding batting performance in Abu Dhabi helped out the Black Caps with an unassuming victory in the ICC semi-finals.
The 167-run chase was looking far from being favourable for the Kiwis after they lost two important wickets of Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson within the power play. But, in the last few overs, Mitchell and Neesham smashed the England bowlers bringing the ticket to the WC finals.
Mitchell, who was not even the first choice for the opening position, carried the entire match upon his shoulders while Neesham and Conway (46 off 38) provided him with the necessary support. Neesham pulled off an excellent 11-ball 27 before Mitchell finished the match with his unbeaten 72 runs off 47 balls with an over to spare.
England was able to put on a decent score of 166 for 4 riding on Moeen Ali’s back who scored 51 off 37 balls. They were, unquestionably, the favourites before Mitchell and Neeshamn eased out 23 runs from Chris Jordon in the 17th over. This and the next over by Adil Rahid turned the entire table altogether making the Kiwis an obvious winner.
As Mitchell sealed the victory in the 19th over with two sixes and one four, Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar shared on Twitter, “What a brilliant game of cricket. #NewZealand once again winning hearts along with winning the game. Great knock by Mitchell who was well supported by Conway & Neesham. Bairstow’s incident at the ropes reminded me of what happened with Boult in the 2019 finals. Kudos to New Zealand!”
Meanwhile, Mitchell credited Conway and Neesham for their victory. “The way Conway set the platform and Neesham hit a few out of the ground was amazing. We knew one or two good overs would do it, and we got the momentum back thanks to Neesham’s hitting,” he said in the post-match conference.
This year’s T20 World Cup has almost come to its end and New Zealand will play the finals on Sunday against the winners of Thursday’s semi-finals between Australia and Pakistan.
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