'It's quite a Kiwi attribute to be little scrappers' - James Neesham

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has a simple explanation for why New Zealand does well in ODI World Cups.

James Neesham and his New Zealand team-mates celebrate an Indian wicket in the 2019 World Cup semifinal   -  AP

New Zealand's 71-run defeat on Friday against Australia was its first in ODIs since the momentous World Cup final last year. The team has had a good run in the 50-over format since December 2017, winning five out of eight bilateral rubbers, including a 3-0 whitewash of India last month.

"We had a fairly lengthy layoff since the World Cup," all-rounder Jimmy Neesham said in a media interaction during the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

"But we talked about trying to continue on the things we were doing that tournament and keep that momentum going from the good one-day cricket we've played over the last two or three years. So to see the guys, especially the batting unit, put together three really good performances was really pleasing," Neesham, referring to the win against India, said.

Read: Coronavirus: Australia-NZ series called off

New Zealand has reached the semifinals of the World Cup on eight occasions, and since 2007, it has always got there. In 2015 and 2019, it reached the final, but couldn't cross the line. It's nevertheless an enviable record in the competition, one that Neesham attributed to a 'Kiwi' trait and the influence of some "calm heads."

“I think it's probably down to just fighting for every little scrap you can get,” Neesham said.

“In bilateral series, you have time to work out opposition and find out well how different plans work whereas in tournament play it's all about who's better on the day, who handles the big occasion better and I think we've got a lot of really calm heads in our team that perform well under pressure. We just know how to scrap for every run we can get, every wicket we can get in the field. And we really enjoy that as a group. It's quite a Kiwi attribute to be little scrappers, and we enjoy that challenge of coming up against the biggest names in the world tournament,” Neesham explained.

Another reason for its success is the depth of talent in fast bowling. "We've always had good depth in New Zealand Cricket when it comes to fast bowlers," Matt Henry, the fast bowler, said.

"At home in New Zealand, with the wickets we play on, it's quite an important role. Obviously, that helps set up the up and coming seasons, and when you've got a talented group like we've got at the moment and these guys that aren't here are also pushing the door. It's a good position for New Zealand cricket to be in, to have that kind of depth and I think it's good also to have everyone around the group. You're always pushing each other and learning new skills and push yourself to new limits."

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New Zealand seamer Kyle Jamieson in action on his Test debut against India   -  Getty Images

The latest good find for the team management is right-arm seamer Kyle Jamieson. Brought into the side in the absence of veteran left-arm quick Neil Wagner, Jamieson made an impact in the ODIs against India and the two Tests that followed.

"I think he's been brilliant, to have a start like he has is fantastic. That transition where he's gone to Auckland last year; he's obviously done really well, and he has developed into a fine young bowler," Henry remarked.

With all this potential and form, the Kiwis would have hoped to accomplish what they've never done before — defeat Australia in Australia in an ODI series of multiple games. They will have to wait longer to bid for it though, as the second and third ODIs have been cancelled as a precaution to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Chappell-Hadlee is a special trophy. I think as a kid, they are the ones that you've watched. Watching New Zealand-Australia one-day series was always very exciting. And I remember being younger as well with the older brother. It's been a lot of time in the backyard and you always pretend to be your heroes and stuff like that," Henry said, underlining the importance of the rubber.

Sony Pictures Network is the broadcaster for the Australia-New Zealand series

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