ICC World Cup: Doff my hat to Australia, says NZ skipper McCullum

Melbourne: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was very matter of fact, much like his batting, in his admission that Australia were the better team by far yesterday after they lost the World Cup final to the hosts by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

NZ skipper Brendon McCullum with his teammates. Pic/AFP

“Ultimately, Australia stepped up and they were too good for us on the night. Credit to them that they were able to do it at such a big occasion. You have to acknowledge when a team is better than you on the day. It’s never nice running second, but sometimes you’ve got to doff your hat to the winner,” McCullum said in the post-match press conference with a smile, gracious in defeat.

McCullum was his team’s second highest run-scorer in the tournament (328) going into yesterday’s final, but only managed to survive three balls before he was clean bowled by a Mitchell Starc yorker.

‘Starc was outstanding’
McCullum was again gracious to accept that Man of the Tournament Starc (22 wickets) was outstanding. “He was a bit too good for me today, that’s for sure. He deserves the Man of the Tournament award. He was outstanding, bowled at good pace, swung the ball late and was incredibly accurate all the way along. Sometimes, you go in with your best plans and your ideal scenario of how you see the game panning out. But sometimes a guy is just too good for you.

It’s a contest, and sometimes the other guy is really good,” said the 33-year-old hard-hitting opener.

A decent portion of 93,013-strong crowd began leaving their seats after McCullum’s Black Caps managed to post just 183 after winning the toss and opting to bat. However, with his pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee in form, the skipper said he always felt there was a chance of victory. “There were times throughout the game, I still felt as if we were in it. Even with 183 on the board, I still felt that we had a chance in this game. Maybe, that was my eternal optimism or some realism about the wicket and the fact that runs were on the board. Then (at one stage) they were two for 63 and I thought that if we were able to get one or two more, the game may have panned out differently.” It wasn’t to be though as Australia skipper Michael Clarke (74) and Steven Smith (56 not out) took the game away.

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