T20 World Cup: Neesham, Stoinis in focus as trans-tasman rivalry takes centre stage

They are far better โ€˜utility playersโ€™ who are touted to be the key for success in limited-overs formats. Still, at the start of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup, hardly anyone would have picked either of them in the โ€œall-rounders to watch out forโ€ listicle at this event.

The battle between James Neesham and Marcus Stoinis could be pivotal in determining the new T20 World Champion. Thanks to their exploits in the semifinals, Neesham and Stoinis will be in the limelight at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Neesham, who has been bowling the death overs for New Zealand all through the tournament, sizzled with the willow to set up his team’s win against England in the first semifinal. While Neesham fell short of crossing the line, Stoinis not only led Australiaโ€™s fightback against favourite Pakistan but ensured he stayed on to watch Matthew Wade finish the game with a flurry.

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Come Sunday, and both the all-rounders would be keen on stamping their authority at the big stage. Neesham bounced back after being left out of the squad for the 2015 World Cup. But his six in the 2019 World Cup final Super Over wasnโ€™t enough for Kane Williamson to lift the trophy. He has some unfinished business and will hope to go one better with his heroics against the traditional rival.

Stoinis, meanwhile, has had to endure successive disappointing exits in the knockouts with his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals in the same country over the 12 months. The burly Western Australian would be hoping to turn the tide in what would be his maiden ICC final.

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