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Why New Zealand chose Guptill, Neesham to open in World Cup super over

Neesham Guptill
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has revealed why the pair of Martin Guptill and James Neesham was chosen to open in the super over, after their World Cup 2019 final against England was tied at the end of 50 overs.

Williamson, speaking with India’s Ravichandran Ashwin on the off-spinner’s YouTube show DRS with Ash, said that their proven credentials as clean strikers of the ball made Neesham and Guptill New Zealand’s first two choices after a quick consensus.

“I had a very quick, brief discussion with the coach Gary [Stead],” Williamson said, “and we obviously had a few guys in mind because we were going to be batting second in the super over, it was going to be dependent on the total that we needed to chase and who’re the most likely bowlers that they’re going to use, basically trying and giving yourself the best opportunity.”

In pursuit of England’s 16-run super over target, Williamson and Stead zeroed in on the left-right hand combination; while Neesham had garnered 232 runs at 33.14 in the middle order, Guptill, the opener, had a difficult tournament, totalling just 186 runs from ten innings.

“Someone like Neesham, throughout the whole competition, hit the ball really nicely and Martin didn’t spend as much time in the middle, but we all know how capable he is of hitting the ball out of the park, and the left-hander part was important because there was a short boundary on one side.”

“And so, as we saw that appeared to be effective and then, at the very worst, they’re both quick between the wickets, so we knew we needed one, maybe two boundaries to chase down whatever it was, 14 or 15 [16]. And, then amongst that, it was about being busy, so yes, I was padded up to come in at 3.”

After Jofra Archer bowled a wide off the first ball, Neesham managed to collect 13 off five balls, bringing New Zealand inches in front of the finishing line, but Guptill’s run out off the last ball tied the scores, again, handing England a win on boundary count.

“It was a really interesting experience to be a part of,” Williamson said, “and afterwards, they did a superb job, to effectively chase it down and get to the same score. We know it’s not easy to do in one over and Jofra is a world-class bowler. And then other things unfolded and decided our fate.”

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