Time and again, New Zealand have shown utmost sportsman spirit irrespective of the game situation. It all happened during the recently concluded first semi-final of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 between New Zealand and England in Abu Dhabi.
In New Zealand’s chase of 167, James Neesham managed to bring the Black Caps back into the match by collecting 23 runs against Chris Jordan in the 17th over. Despite the big over, New Zealand still had work to do as they needed 34 off 18.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid came to bowl the 18th over, and on the first ball, Neesham punched a slightly short-pitched delivery down the ground. In an attempt to stop the ball, Rashid ran into non-striker Daryl Mitchell.
The pair could’ve easily taken the single there but Mitchell, having recognised he had prevented his opponent the chance to stop the ball, denied opting for a run. This little moment captured everyone’s attention and impressed one and all as even in such a crunch situation, the Kiwi players didn’t compromise on maintaining the ‘Spirit of the Game’.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain was on air when the heartwarming moment took place, and he did nothing but appreciate the Kane Williamson-led side for showing utmost professionalism.
“They’ll sneak a single. Are they going to take a run or not? No, that is very good. That is so New Zealand; it really is. So easy to take a run there, and the non-striker said, ‘no, I got in the way of Adil’. If anything sums up New Zealand cricket, it was that,” said Nasser.
On the very next ball of Rashid’s over, Neesham whacked the slow sweep for a maximum and continued the hitting. Although, Rashid had the last laugh as he sent Neesham back into the hut on the last ball of his over before conceding 14 runs.
Mitchell, however, stayed alive and smacked Chris Woakes for two sixes and a four in the penultimate over to propel New Zealand to their first-ever final in T20 World Cup history. Mitchell scored an unbeaten 72 off 47 deliveries with the help of four fours and as many sixes.