Jimmy Neesham’s activity and inactivity

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Jimmy Neesham made two excellent and contrasting contributions to New Zealand’s T20 World Cup semi-final win over England. Firstly, he successfully steered the match round the sharpest of corners late in his team’s run-chase. Secondly, he totally neglected to move a muscle come the winning moment. It’s hard to pick a favourite out of the two.

New Zealand needed 60 runs off 30 balls when Liam Livingstone came on to bowl his final over. (‘Runs off balls’ is the correct way to score a T20 run chase. They should use it from the start instead of giving you the target and the overs gone and asking you to make a bunch of calculations to work out what’s required over and over again.)

Livingstone is a weird bowler. You’d call him a bowling option rather than a key member of the attack and he then splits what little bowling he does between off spin and leg spin. Eoin Morgan clearly sees him as a very credible option though, having said ahead of the match that England would have “28 genuine overs on the field.”

Livingstone had taken 1-19 off his first three overs and then continued to defy his supposed weaklinkdom in his fourth. When you need 60 runs off 30 balls and then the odds and sods bowler concedes two and takes another wicket, that’s problematic.

Neesham – who at this point had one run off one ball to his name – then decided it was high time to win the match. When he sliced Adil Rashid to Eoin Morgan just a few minutes later, he had made 27 off 11 balls and New Zealand now needed 20 runs off 12 balls. Dragged along in Neesham’s slipstream, Daryl Mitchell got them in six.

As his team-mates all celebrated wildly, Neesham sat in his folding camping chair with his arms folded.

A little while later, once everyone had cleared off, Neesham remained in his folding camping chair, although he did go so far as to unfold his arms.

We were rather hoping Neesham’s moustache signified an adoption of Victorian values and that his inaction was therefore a sign of stern disapproval for things like ‘having fun’. He has however clarified that it was merely a reflection of his belief that he and his team haven’t yet finished the job, which is a bit more elite sport mindsetty and a lot less fun.

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  1. See what happens when you don’t bowl Mo? Especially when he’s just batted well?!?!?
    Tempt the cricketing fates at your peril…
    Still, Neesham is the next best thing. Which is to say he’s a very, very distant second to Mo, but still a thoroughly decent chap who one would wish nothing but the best for. It’s nice he’s having his moment in this tournament – he’s been really solid in T20s for a little while now.

  2. To add an entirely unnecessary note of churlishness to the recognition that New Zealand are a fantastic team that thoroughly deserve to be in the final… I noticed yesterday that a lot of them have quite annoying faces. Not objectionable — even yesterday you saw Mitchell, I think, decline a run because he got in Adil Rashid’s way — but just… annoying. Glenn Phillips’ face is really wide; Mitchell has a slight case of crotch-face; Boult and Southee look like they could be in a remake of ‘Grease’; and Kane Williamson looks like a hobbit. Brilliant cricketers, tremendous people/hobbits, slightly annoying faces: this will be their legacy. That, and being the best team in the world in all formats. And universally liked and respected, obviously. But the face thing too.

  3. Devon Conway punched his bat in frustration at getting out in the semi-final.

    Now he’s got a broken hand and can’t play in the final.

  4. This is why people shouldn’t talk. This had the potential of being elevated to the status of a cult, but Jimmy Neesham tweeted his own picture and said some words. You don’t tweet your own picture and say some words if you want to keep the mystique alive.

  5. Dear All: We allow juvenile lines here, right? Well of course we do. So here’s a bit of (actual) commentary from the Pak-Aus game: “Starc misses his length AND FAKHAR GOES BOOM”.

    Thank you.

    Deep Cower.

  6. Words alone cannot do justice to the irritation I will feel if the baggy hat fetishists win it after that elite drubbing meted out in the group stage.

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