New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham opens up about his emotional journey after the heartbreaking 2019 World Cup final loss to England at Lord’s. Learn how he coped with the defeat and his outlook on the upcoming 2023 World Cup.
In 2019, New Zealand’s James Neesham experienced a heart-wrenching loss in the World Cup final against England at Lord’s. Even after four years, the memory still haunts him. Neesham confessed that he found it hard to find motivation and purpose in matches following that dramatic final.
James Neesham The World Cup final in 2019
was a cricketing spectacle for the ages, with both teams scoring 241 runs, leading to a Super Over. England ultimately clinched the victory due to a higher boundary count, leaving New Zealand as runners-up for the second consecutive time.
Neesham, now 33 years old, admitted that for two years after the final, he couldn’t muster the same passion for the game. In an interview with The Guardian, he shared, “I struggled for a couple of years after that final because I didn’t really feel like the matches we were playing mattered. That’s no disrespect to the opposition or anything, but I would be out in the middle going: ‘I don’t really care.’ There’s no context to a lot of matches, there’s no pressure, there’s a lot of, like, whatever games.”
While Neesham acknowledged the privilege of being a cricketer, he emphasized that bad days are inevitable. Referring to the final as the ‘shittiest day,’ he said,
“We’re incredibly fortunate to do what we do as cricketers and travel around the world and play a game for a living. If you want all the good stuff that comes with that, you have to drink your poison too. You have to accept that you’re going to have some shitty days every now and then. While that final at Lord’s was arguably the shittiest day, it’s not something that you can run away from.”
Neesham played a pivotal role in the Super Over, facing Jofra Archer and hitting a crucial six on the second ball. However, New Zealand fell agonizingly short as Martin Guptill was run out on the final delivery, attempting a second run with Jos Buttler efficiently taking off the bails.
Looking ahead to the 2023 World Cup, Neesham expressed excitement about the prospect of facing England again in the tournament’s opening match in Ahmedabad. He hopes for a better outcome this time and adds with a touch of humor,
“It’s really exciting, that first match of the tournament against England has nearly arrived. So, I know I’ve just said all that stuff … but a repeat of the last final in front of what should be an amazing crowd. Hopefully we can go a little bit better than we did last time, I mean, just one run better would be good.”
The Kiwis are set to kick off their 2023 World Cup campaign against defending champions England on Thursday, October 5, in what promises to be an electrifying clash.