New Zealand will return home for some serious soul searching and to discuss how they can finally win a limited-overs competition or next year’s World Cup could end the same way as so many others, said captain Brendon McCullum.
McCullum’s team were skittled out for 60 in their World Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka on Monday, a 59-run defeat ending their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals in Bangladesh.
New Zealand have been perennial underachievers in tournaments, making six semi-finals at World Cups but never reaching a final.
They have qualified for just one World Twenty20 semi-final and their only success was at the Champions Trophy in 2000.
McCullum suggested New Zealand could be in for another frustrating 50-over World Cup next year, an event they co-host with Australia, if his side do not learn from their failures in Bangladesh.
“I said right at the outset we would have to play really well here. We’re not good enough to only play at 80 percent,” the skipper told reporters in Chittagong.
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“There are some things that irked me through the tournament and I’ll be addressing those later. Something’s going to have to change at some stage otherwise we’ll keep turning up at tournaments, winning a couple, losing a couple and never claiming any silverware.”
New Zealand went into the competition bouyed by some impressive performances in their domestic summer including a 4-0 thrashing of world champions India in a one-day series.
The team have been built with an eye on 2015 and with an aggressive top batting order in Martin Guptill, McCullum and Ross Taylor and promising all-rounders in Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham.
The attack is spearheaded by the experienced Kyle Mills. The hostile Mitchell McClenaghan is used as a strike bowler while Nathan McCullum is widely considered one of the more economical limited-over spinners in world cricket.
New Zealand, however, only beat England via the Duckworth-Lewis method, could not chase down 170 set by South Africa and struggled to beat Netherlands before they lost to Sri Lanka who are becoming hoodoo opponents.
Sri Lanka were again too strong on Monday with left-arm spinner Rangana Herath taking five wickets for three runs.
“How do you get out for 60? I’m still trying to work that out as well especially when one guy gets 40-odd,” said McCullum referring to Kane Williamson’s 42.
“We should have chased down 120 and only getting halfway is nowhere good enough.”
It was not a surprise New Zealand toiled on the Bangladesh pitches particularly against left-arm spinners like Herath.
The Kiwis have lost seven of their last eight completed one-day matches in Bangladesh – the only game they won was against South Africa in the 2011 World Cup – with the home team’s slow left-armers taking almost half of the wickets to fall.
“They (Sri Lanka) bowled really well but we didn’t bat well,” said McCullum of Monday’s match.
“We played across the line to the ball which was skidding on and some of us tried to be too aggressive against the ball spinning away.
“When you’re playing on these surfaces, which are very foreign to what we’re used to, plus with the nature of Twenty20 where you have to be very smart with your decision making, you can’t afford to be lacking with your cricketing intelligence and that’s what we lacked in this tournament.”