World Cup final opportunity knocks for Seifert as Conway punches out

·2-min read
Final chance: New Zealand wicketkeeper Tim Seifert (right) in the opening match against Pakistan (AFP/Karim SAHIB)

Tim Seifert heads into Sunday's T20 World Cup final against Australia restored as New Zealand's number one wicketkeeper in a season which has been full of twists and turns.

Seifert played in the opening loss to Pakistan but was dropped, with the gloves handed to Devon Conway.

The Black Caps, with an extra bowler in Adam Milne squeezed into the starting line-up, then strung together four successive wins to make the semi-finals where victory over England followed.

As Seifert watched, Conway hit a valuable 46 in that game.

However, Conway, frustrated by his dismissal, punched his bat and broke his right hand, ruling him out of the final as well as the forthcoming tour of India

"We need to have a keeper so it's likely that Tim will come into the side and then we just have to balance out the attack, and the order of what we think is right," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead on Friday.

Seifert made just eight against Pakistan in his only appearance at the World Cup.

However, he brings plenty of runs to the team.

In 36 T20 Internationals, he has a high score of 84 not out, has hit five half centuries and clubbed 37 sixes.

Seifert has become accustomed to drama in his career.

He tested positive for Covid-19 in the first half of this year's IPL and isolated in Chennai.

"That was the toughest time. The world stops a little bit," he recalled.

"I couldn't think what was next. That's the scary part. You hear about the bad things, I thought it was going to happen to me. It was tough."

After finishing his isolation, Seifert made it home, went into hotel quarantine and then married his girlfriend Morgan Croasdale.

He returned to franchise cricket in the Caribbean Premier League and then completed the second half of the IPL which was shifted to the UAE and ended just two days before the World Cup got underway.

Seifert will have some sympathy for the bruised Conway.

Back in 2019, he missed the 50-over World Cup in England, where the Kiwis finished runners-up, after breaking a finger in a domestic match.

Two surgeries were followed by a bone graft to guarantee his finger would mend.

Meanwhile, Stead admitted the New Zealand squad were surprised by the extent of the injury suffered by Conway.

"It looked a pretty innocuous reactionary incident on the field," he said.

"But the blow obviously caught the bat between the glove padding and while it's not the smartest thing he's done there's certainly an element of bad luck in the injury.

"He's absolutely gutted to be ruled out like this at this time."

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