Jimmy Neesham, the New Zealand all-rounder, has spoken of how playing England again, so soon after the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 final, in which the Black Caps were defeated on boundary count, brought up difficult memories.
Neesham, playing his first T20I since January 2017, impressed in the second match of the series against England, blazing a 22-ball 42 to help his side to a 21-run win and draw level in the five-match series 1-1.
It was a fine performance from the all-rounder, but it didn't stop the questions regarding the World Cup final, and how the New Zealand players were coping with such a narrow loss. "That's probably my most common question: have you gotten over it [the World Cup] yet? I don't think it's about getting over it, it's just accepting it," Neesham told Stuff on Monday, 4 November.
"Obviously playing England again so soon brings up those questions again. And, really, it was a phenomenal effort in that tournament, you can still be proud of the efforts of all the guys on the field. That's what counts and we'll draw a line and go on."
Individually, Neesham's career is progressing well. After the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Neesham was out of the national reckoning for a year and a half, but this year, he made a roaring comeback. He is now a vital cog in team, as evidenced by an impressive display at the World Cup 2019, when he scored 232 runs and picked 15 wickets.
"I want to play every game I can for New Zealand," he said. "I just ticked over 29, and I'm at the stage of my career where I feel like I've started to get things together."
In the second T20I, Neesham walked in to bat when New Zealand were 131/5 in 13.5 overs. With just 37 balls left in the innings, he managed to push the total closer to the 180 mark. "When you try to hit at the death at T20, you don't want to leave guys like Tim Southee and Mitch Santner to do the lion's share of the work in the last 2-3 overs," Neesham said.
"We talked about trying to bridge that gap. It was difficult to hit classical boundaries along the ground on that ground, and it was just about picking a moment and a bowler to pull the trigger."
The third T20I will be played at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Tuesday.