By: Reuters | | Melbourne | March 29, 2015 6:55 pm
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said sometimes you have to “cop it sweet” and admit you were beaten by a better team after they were hammered by seven wickets in their first World Cup final on Sunday.
The Black Caps were the form team of the tournament going into the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, unbeaten in eight matches with Australia and South Africa among their victims.
On Sunday, though, they were dismissed for 183 in 45 overs, a tally their co-hosts Australia overhauled inside 34 overs to win their fifth title.
“It came down to one game,” McCullum said. “We gave ourselves that opportunity in this tournament with so much on the line, and ultimately Australia stepped up and they were too good for us on the night.
“You go out there and try and play as well as you possibly can, and if a team is better than you on the day, then you cop it sweet and you let them enjoy the celebrations.
“I think they stepped up on the day. They were better than us, and yeah, they’ll be drinking the winning champagne.”
McCullum, who departed for a duck in the first over as New Zealand fell to 39 for three inside the first 13, said he thought they were still in with a chance of a maiden World Cup title at 150-3 in the 35th over.
“Then we saw Australia I guess really bare its teeth and put the hammer down on us,” he said. “That was probably the pivotal stage.
“I thought if we were able to get through three or four overs at a decent strike rate we would have been able to launch later on with our bigger hitters coming in with a bit of freedom.”
Unfortunately for New Zealand, Australia’s bowlers then removed their last seven batsmen for the addition of just 33 runs.
Apart from his obvious disappointment, McCullum said his overwhelming feeling was one of pride in what his team had achieved at the tournament.
“I looked in the changing room today (Sunday), and the guys that we’ve had, we’ve been on an incredible journey,” he said.
“We’ve loved every single minute of it. We’ve created memories and friendships which will last for the rest of our lives.
“We’ve had some support from our country which we never believed was possible. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.
“We ran second today (Sunday), and all credit to Australia, but we walk away with our heads held high.”