To his credit, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor offered up no excuses after his team limped out of the Twenty20 World Cup, having suffered their fourth successive defeat.
Needing to beat the West Indies to maintain a mathematical chance of qualifying for the tournament semifinals, the Black Caps lost the match in the Super Over eliminator after making 139 for seven, in reply to 139 all out.
It was the second time New Zealand had lost in the Super Over during the Super 8s. Matches become something a lottery once they're determined by a six-ball-a-side slog, but Taylor said his side had to cop this defeat sweet, along with the three which preceded it.
"You give it your all and to come up that close [is disappointing],'' Taylor said.
"We've played well in patches but we just haven't been consistent throughout this whole tournament.''
New Zealand came into the event with high expectations, which were only heightened when they beat Bangladesh by 59 runs in their first match.
But they never won again, losing to Pakistan by 13 runs, being defeated in a Super Over by Sri Lanka and then taking a six-wicket stuffing from England. This loss, in the early hours this morning, tended to sum up a campaign which promised a great deal and ended up yielding nothing.
"Any time you lose as many games as we have, you haven't played to your potential. [But] It's more the fact that we didn't execute as well as we would've liked,'' said Taylor.
"Little things in Twenty20 matter and that stuff we didn't do as well [as other teams].
When you come to a tournament like this, there's no what ifs? We gave it our best shot and weren't good enough at the end of the day.''
New Zealand had the tools to succeed and generally talked a good game. But playing one proved harder and questions will rightly be raised about how some of these players performed under pressure.
Not many of them played to a level anywhere near their ability and that's probably the most disappointing aspect of the Black Caps' tournament. If you play well and lose to a team that was simply better, then fair enough.
But England and the West Indies are ordinary and losing to them should wound Taylor's team for some time to come.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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