Neesham may be answer to NZ's bowling woes

HAMISH BIDWELL IN CHITTAGONG
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014
Jimmy Neesham
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STAR POTENTIAL: Jimmy Neesham.

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One win, thanks in large part to the umpires, and an ordinary loss.

They're hardly outstanding returns from two matches at this World Twenty20 tournament for New Zealand.

This team has potential, no doubt about that. But, while they've played some good cricket against England and South Africa, it's been let down by patches of poor stuff.

It's hard to escape the feeling that this team has more to give, more to show. Especially with the ball.

The Black Caps want to chase at this tournament, but the targets they've left themselves needing of 173 and 171 have been on the high side. After two days off, the team finally resume training today and ensuring they execute their bowling plans better will be the big work on.

"We're a little bit off at the moment with everything," captain Brendon McCullum said.

"I spoke at the start of the tournament about starting well and building momentum through the tournament and we really do have to find that extra 5 or 10 per cent now. Our [bowling] execution towards the end [against South Africa] wasn't as good as it should be and it wasn't, in patches, against England as well."

Some of that falls on Tim Southee's shoulders. He's gone for 46 in both games and his lack of consistency and negative body language speak of a guy who's battling himself a bit.

"Tim's a new-ball bowler who is bowling first change and he's probably just a little bit off. But he's a world class bowler as well so I don't expect he'll be off for too long and I expect he'll step up in the next game [against The Netherlands on Saturday night]."

Southee has let the side down somewhat, because everyone's else's bowling has been pretty admirable.

"Obviously Mitch [McClenaghan] has been bowling really well and I think Millsy [Kyle Mills] has bowled well too. Both Nathan [McCullum] and Corey [Anderson] have bowled well at times and that's meant our sixth bowler hasn't been called upon too much.

"We're not far away but, in this game, you can't be off at all."

Kane Williamson's been the sixth bowler, with one 1-13 against South Africa being his only contribution so far. Colin Munro rolls his arm over in warm-ups, but is probably in the last resort category.

The continued exclusion of Jimmy Neesham is curious. McCullum is a Southee man and the big quick will presumably play whenever he's fit.

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But having Neesham up his sleeve would make McCullum's life easier if Southee isn't at his best, particularly on a pacy, skiddy surface like Chittagong's. Spin's been a big factor down where Group 2's playing, in Dhaka, but not here. The conditions at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium are actually perfect for Neesham.

For him to play, Munro would probably have to miss out. A renowned destroyer of domestic attacks, Munro often looks hurried and out of control at this level. Leaving him out would mean Anderson pushing up to bat at five and might be something for McCullum to think about. This is a good team, but not so good that they can afford to sit Neesham out on a prolonged basis.

- Fairfax Media

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