McCullum rues missed chance

Shane Watson (right) celebrates with team-mate James Hopes after guiding Australia to victory. AFP

Regular skipper Vettori was ruled out a couple of hours before the toss with a hamstring injury, and stand-in captain McCullum put down Cameron White on 15 out of an Aussie total of 41 for two with the latter chasing 201 for victory.

“Losing Dan was a huge blow,” McCullum admitted. “He has been instrumental in the way he has performed both with bat and ball, and also his captaincy.

“He is a huge player that we all look to for not only performance but also inspiration. To lose him was disappointing.

“The dropped catch was obviously crucial. The score was roughly 40 at that time. If I had grabbed it, it would have been three for 40. Had we got another couple of quick wickets at 5 for 100, we certainly would have been right on top at that stage.

“Any time you drop a catch is crucial, and that certainly was as well. No one tries to drop catches. But unfortunately, one went down today and I was responsible for it.”
Few gave New Zealand a chance to reach the final, particularly after injuries ruled out Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey early in the competition.

“It’s certainly a step forward for us,” said McCullum. “We have had a tough time in the last couple of years -- not just losing players here through injury but also retirements and obviously the ICL as well. But what that did was give other guys opportunities. Now as a squad of 20-25 players, we have guys capable of performing on the international stage, a number of match-winners within the group.

“Whilst we are disappointed with what happened today, we are certainly proud of what we have achieved. We are proud of the desire and the passion that the team has shown through some tough times. If we can continue to capture that in tournaments and series that we play, this team will certainly move forward.”

DH News Service

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