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Neesham says Pakistan defeat won't derail World Cup bid
New Zealand News

Neesham says Pakistan defeat won't derail World Cup bid

Jimmy Neesham emphasized the six-wicket loss to Pakistan in Birmingham on Wednesday will not halt New Zealand's momentum to extend their superb form in the World Cup.

Runners-up in the previous edition of the tournament, New Zealand were thus far unbeaten in their campaign before being stunned by a resurgent Pakistan side.

Three key wickets upfront from 19-year-old pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi derailed New Zealand's top order leaving them in a precarious position at 46 for four.

Neesham then conjured a spectacular rescue act to help salvage the New Zealand innings and post a competitive total of 237-6 in 50 overs.

Neesham's career-best 97, however, was overshadowed by Babar Azam's unbeaten century in the second innings ultimately leading to the Black Caps' first defeat of the tournament.

In spite of the stumbling block, New Zealand are comfortably placed in the points table and can possibly qualify for the semi-finals even without winning any of their remaining games.

"I think you'd be pretty naive to expect to go through the whole tournament unbeaten," said Neesham. "There are too many quality teams going around to expect to win every game.

"We prepared for a tournament where we'd probably lose one or two games, but for us it's all about making it to the semi-finals, and you're only two good games away from lifting the trophy. So for us nothing changes.

"We'll prepare for the next game the same way we've prepared for the last six," said the all-rounder, whose team will take on defending champions Australia on Saturday.

'Pakistan's bowling was really impressive'

Neesham, who forged a 132-run stand for the sixth wicket with fellow all-rounderColin de Grandhomme, said he thought New Zealand had enough runs on the board in order to challenge the Pakistan batting line-up on a lively pitch.

"I think probably being 46-4 was a pretty significant moment in the game," said Neesham of New Zealand's top order collapse triggered by Shaheen's new ball spell.

"I think Pakistan's bowling was obviously really impressive. We sort of try and dig ourselves out of that hole and that took a lot of doing, but I think we potentially got to a score that was defendable."

Neesham said Babar and Haris Sohail's 126-run partnership took the game away from New Zealand's grasp despite having clawed their way back into the contest.

"Obviously, the way Babar and Sohail batted didn't allow us to get some momentum and try to get into their middle order and that was the difference," he added.