New Zealand are out of the Twenty20 World Cup, following another heartbreaking Super Over defeat.
Chasing 140 to beat the West Indies in their final Super 8s match, at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, the Black Caps could only muster 139 for seven, after Doug Bracewell was run out trying to complete the winning run off the last ball.
As the chasing team, New Zealand had first bat in the Super Over and thanks to captain Ross Taylor posted a very-defendable 17. But the West Indies, through Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, made short work of that total, reaching the target with one ball remaining.
The Black Caps had needed a win to keep their faint semifinal hopes alive. They got as close as you can do without being victorious, before going on to lose in the Super Over for the second time in five days, having previously been beaten in the eliminator by Sri Lanka.
Tim Southee was entrusted with bowling New Zealand's Super Over and got off to an inglorious start.
"You win the game in the first two balls of that [and] when the first ball is a no-ball, and goes for six, you're on the back foot straight away. From then on the pressure was all on Timmy and they won with a ball to spare,'' Taylor said.
Taylor had done all he could, in regulation time and the Super Over, to get his team over the line, but never found any support.
New Zealand had done very well to bowl the Windies out for 139.
Star bowler Daniel Vettori had been ruled out about an hour before the start, due to an Achilles tendon strain. But his replacement, Roneel Hira, and Nathan McCullum, Southee and Doug Bracewell all did very well in the left-arm spinner's absence, to restrict the Windies to score Taylor said he would happily have settled for when he won the toss and chose to bowl.
New Zealand's chase never had any momentum about it. Rob Nicol went for three and then Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum and James Franklin all got starts before gifting their wickets away.
It was left to Taylor to soldier on and that he did, despite getting a new batting partner almost every other over. He made 62 from 40 balls, but crucially found himself off strike when two runs were required off the final ball of the match.
Doug Bracewell, facing his first delivery of the innings, pushed the ball to deep midwicket and set off for two. Unfortunately Dwayne Smith, just on as a substitute fielder for Ravi Rampaul, threw the stumps down from about 50 metres to send the match to a Super Over.
Taylor made 14 of the 17 runs the Black Caps took off Samuel's bowling, but it wasn't enough.
"I was pretty motivated. I felt pretty good all tournament...I just hadn't had the big score,'' he said.
New Zealand were helped by some disgraceful fielding by some of the West Indies. Still, they were careful enough not to give away one-run too many and New Zealand exit the tournament with just a win over Bangladesh to show for their five games.
- Fairfax Media
With the World Cup just around the corner, how do you think the Black Caps will go?