New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori called on his batsmen to stand up and be counted after a crushing World Cup defeat to Australia in Nagpur on Friday.
The Black Caps were bowled out for just 206 and it could have been worse after they collapsed to 73 for six in the face of Australia’s pace attack with Mitchell Johnson taking four wickets for 33 runs and Shaun Tait 3-35.
An eighth-wicket stand of 54 between Nathan McCullum (52) and a quick 44 from Vettori at least ensured the Black Caps had something to bowl at.
But Vettori’s men conceded 29 runs in wides as Australia cantered to victory with 16 overs to spare.
After losing the toss and being put into bat, New Zealand lost three wickets for one run as they slumped from 66 for two to 67 for five.
“We actually had a relatively decent start at 60-odd for two... and then to lose those wickets so quickly really damaged our chances to forge through and score 260, 270, which would have been competitive on that wicket,” said Vettori.
“We’re fortunate Nathan McCullum played so well for a little bit of respectability but it was tough going after that.”
Turning to the top order, Vettori said: “We’ve got a lot of very good players in the top four or five and we’ve just got to find a way that we can stand up and be counted.
“That’s the same with the ball as well. We’ve got a good balanced squad here but that doesn’t really matter unless you’re performing.”
The match took place against the backdrop of a devastating earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, which has left more than 100 dead.
But Vettori said the emotion generated by the tragedy could not excuse or explain New Zealand’s performance.
“It would probably be unfair to the people who are going through a lot worse than we are over here to say that was the reason we didn’t play very well today,” he insisted.
“We’re professional sportsmen and we have to get up for these games.”
New Zealand’s next game is not until next Friday against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad and Vettori said: “We’ve got a bit of time to recover. It’s a long break before the next game against Zimbabwe.
“It’s been a tough experience (losing to Australia) for us and it’s not something we ever want to go through. “But the nature of World Cups mean we’ve got to bounce back for the next game and look ahead to the next game after that.
“This loss is disappointing but for us to progress in the tournament we have to put it behind us as quickly as possible.”