Media bemoans NZ exit, but praises team for a spirited show

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori walks off the ground following their defeat in the Cricket World Cup semi-final match against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo on March 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO

The media, however, praised the Kiwis for putting up a spirited performance and exceeding the expectations in reaching the semi-final stage of the quadrennial event.

The New Zealand Herald said the Black Caps, "almost broke the jinx". "They deserve suitable plaudits for a gallant effort," it said.

The New Zealand's national news agency, NZPA, was however, critical as it said, "It was deja vu all over again." New Zealand, yesterday put up a brave show against the favourites Sri Lanka making them earn their ticket to the World Cup final, after they were bundled out within their alloted quota of overs for a small total of 217.

Chasing a modest target of 218, the Sri Lankan's were going smooth at 160 for one before Kiwis struck back dismissing four of their batsman for an addition of just 25 runs to the total. But that did not prove enough as the hosts ran home with the victory in 47.5 overs with five wickets to spare.

Meanwhile, the former New Zealand cricketer Nathan Astle raised doubts about the inability of Kiwis to come out with something innovative rather than sticking to the same game plan that worked for them against South Africa. "The Black Caps' inability to adapt their game plan is what cost them a place in the World Cup final," the cricketer told New Zealand Herald.

Astle, though, admired the team's much enhanced performance at the big stage saying, "It's just a shame we couldn't get across the line for the final but I think they've proven a few people wrong, myself included. "They got a lot further than people thought they would and must be given credit for that," the batsman added.

Fairfax Media described New Zealand's loss as "agonising", but conceded it had an air of inevitability after the Kiwis skittled to a meagre total, giving the bowlers little to defend. "They talked a brave game and genuinely believed they could beat the odds again -- as they did four days earlier by upsetting South Africa in Dhaka," it said.
"But after posting such a small total from their 50 overs, the New Zealanders would have known they hadn't done enough."

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