Allrounder, and Twitter star, Jimmy Neesham went from the brink of retirement from cricket to almost delivering New Zealand the 2019 World Cup. In the tournament he was outstanding with bat and ball then in the final against England claimed three wickets and produced the final-ball run out to tie the scores after 50 overs. He was entrusted with the bat in the Super Over and scored 13 off 5 balls including a huge six off Jofra Archer. He was at the non-striker's end for the last ball when Martin Guptill was run out coming back for a second run that would have won New Zealand the World Cup.
He made his international debut in a Twenty20 international on New Zealand's tour to South Africa in 2012-13, following some impressive performances in the shorter formats in the domestic season. Neesham began his first-class career with Auckland, but a move Otago worked well for him, as he made some important contributions in the 50-over format in the 2011-12 season, making three 40-plus scores in seven innings, all of them coming at more than a run a ball. He was among the wickets too, taking a career-best 5 for 44 against Wellington and 4 for 23 against Canterbury. The rewards came soon, as he was included in the limited-overs squads for the tour to South Africa and made his T20I and ODI debuts.
In February 2014, Neesham made a century on Test debut against India and was at the other end when skipper Brendon McCullum became the first Black Cap to score a Test triple century. He became just the eighth player in Test history to score hundreds in his first two Tests when he made a century against West Indies in Jamaica.
He narrowly missed the cut for the home World Cup in 2015, an experience he described as "gut-wrenching", when Grant Elliott was preferred at the last minute. Neesham found himself in the stands at Eden Park as Elliott struck that iconic six against South Africa to secure a spot in the final.
Neesham was part of the one-day side over the next two seasons but was dropped after the 2017 Champions Trophy. He was ready to retire but was talked out of it and asked instead to take a break from the game. He returned in 2018 and dominated domestic one-day cricket scoring 503 runs at an average of 62.87 with a strike rate of 110.79, which earned him an international recall to face Sri Lanka. He made 47 not out from 13 balls and 64 from 37 in his first two ODIs back in January 2019 and locked up his 2019 World Cup spot.