Senior Kiwi pacer Tim Southee has revealed that he felt as if dropping Rishabh Pant was like dropping the WTC final, given the way the southpaw was playing in the game. Southee also added that after starting the WTC cycle with a loss against Sri Lanka, the Kiwi side have played great cricket.
On the sixth day of the WTC final, New Zealand were on a roll in the first session when Kyle Jamieson sent back Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply. Given his impressive record against the left-handers, when Rishabh Pant walked into the crease, the lanky quick not only fancied taking his wicket but even got him playing a false shot to induce an edge towards the slip cordon when he was batting on five. But the edge was dropped by an otherwise safe pair of hands, Tim Southee. After the drop, Rishabh Pant, in his aggressive manner, decided to take on the Kiwi bowlers and was playing decently before he got out on 41, top-scoring for the Virat Kohli-led side.
Luckily for Southee, dropping Pant didn't prove as costly. The senior paceman, who bowled exceptionally well in the second innings of the WTC final, reflected on dropping Pant and said he would be lying if he said that spilling the catch didn't feel like dropping the game. He added that a lot of thoughts were going in his head when Pant was batting aggressively but he just tried to move on.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't go through my head. Just because of the nature of the way that Pant played.
"He can take the game away from you in the space of five or six overs. It was already a tight game and so some demons were throwing around inside my head. But I had to drop those (thoughts) as I had to bowl the next over. You've just got to suck it up and move on. But I was very relieved when Pant was out," said Southee on The Matt and Jerry Show, reported India Today.
"It was a horrible feeling. Probably the worst feeling for a cricketer when you drop a catch, you feel like you're letting your mates down," he added.
New Zealand didn't have the best starts in the WTC cycle as they lost out the first Test they played to Sri Lanka away from home. However, Southee feels the team played some great cricket to finish off well.
"No, two years ago we lost our first test to Sri Lanka but like any world event, your hope on entering it is that you're there in the end. We played some pretty good cricket along the way and we managed to find ourselves in the last two with a bit of luck along the way as well," he said.