Neesham: "You don't come halfway around the world just to win a semi-final"

"We still have one game to go and I am sure that there will be more emotion if we manage to cross the line."

"Try to hit every ball for six". This was Jimmy Neesham's plan after teaming up with opening player Daryl Mitchell, with New Zealand taking 60 of the last 29 balls in the semifinals against England. Neesham faced 11 balls, cleared the fence three times, and found it once.

Neesham threw his hands, hips, shoulders, and every muscle in his bilateral movements. His first six from Chris Jordan was a miss over the midwicket line, but he reloaded and hoisted a four between deep midwicket and wide long on. He unleashed another uncompromising hoick and for a moment it looked like Jonny Bairstow would track him down with a long long-on, but his knee brushed the rope as he caught the ball before catching the converging outfielder could pass on within the playing field.

Neesham also set up legspinner Adil Rashid and mowed him into the grass banks beyond Midwicket for his third six. "I just said to Daz [Daryl Mitchell], I hit CJ [Chris Jordan] for a six second ball and Daz kind of came down and said, 'What do you think?' I just said I would try to hit every ball for six, "Neesham told NZC's internal media team ahead of the New Zealand final against Australia. "It doesn't always come from the middle, but it got a few chunks and got enough to get over the rope. Yeah, in the end it got pretty comfortable."

Neesham's six-part triptych also helped free Mitchell, who struggled in the early clashes with Chris Woakes and Jordan. Rashid got rid of Neesham with an in-to-the-pitch fals'un, but Mitchell ultimately blasted New Zealand to a memorable 6.6.4 win over Woakes. "I think this is what position you want yourself to be in when you open your eyelash," Neesham said. "You just want to be there after he hit 40-50 balls in the end and he obviously saw it very nicely and hit well. It was just a matter of hoping we didn't leave the run too late, though as I mentioned that there is a lot of time left in the end. "

While some of his teammates spent the time of their lives in the middle of it at the 2015 World Cup, Neesham watched the semi-finals against South Africa from the lawns in Eden Park. He later fell in love with cricket and even thought about retiring. Okay, let's not address the heartbreak of 2019. In 2021, he viciously swung balls into the grass banks of Abu Dhabi. The tables have turned, but Neesham wasn't ready to celebrate. After Mitchell hit the winning streaks, the entire New Zealand squad burst into cheers, but Neesham didn't care. He just sat blankly in his chair in front of the dugout. Neesham - and New Zealand - have their sights set on the big prize.