Vettori pragmatic after defeat


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The Daniel Vettori who turned up at the post-match conference after the semifinal was not that Daniel Vettori was expected to show up. He was not moody, angry or irritable. He was not overly disappointed he did not look like his world crashed around him, or even a small part of it was destroyed.

For the sixth time, New Zealand have left the tournament in the semifinal and they have never reached the World Cup final. Vettori had every right to appear upset, broken hearts and guts, as he looked on the field for the winning runs Thilan Samaraweera store. By the time the media conference came around, 15 minutes or so later, he wiped his eyes and put the loss into perspective. “I can only speak for this team, I can not speak for the teams of yesteryear, and we were just too short,” he said, pragmatic as you want.

The recently started coming to bat. New Zealand lost 6 for 25 runs at the end of their innings, including a dramatic 4 for 4, and are totally out for 217. Though they knew they were on the ropes. “We thought we were 20 or 30 runs short,” said Vettori, although he claimed he made the right decision by choosing to bat. “Our top order was short and to the Sri Lankan bowling was difficult to recover.”

Despite a poor batting performance, New Zealand – known for their ability to fight, and just four days after the defending 221 in spectacular fashion against South Africa – could have gone into the field think they would do it again. That would mean they have the batting side to play, but Sri Lanka were not South Africa, and made it difficult for New Zealand to repeat their giant killing performance. “Our whole game plan was to try to get them down to three,” said Vettori.

By the time three down happened, Sri Lanka, only 57 away from victory had enough and formed a solid foundation for the rest of the order to build. Kumar Sangakkara was in the crease, looking as composed as ever and the progress made New Zealand were not enough to cause an upset. “The [Tillakaratne] Dilshan and Sangakkara partnership was too long,” Vettori said of the 120 runs the couple to raise for the second wicket.

That was the partnership that the match away from New Zealand and the only way they could get it put back and had to deal with everything they were hungry. “If the opposition to less than 6 runs over the hunt, you need to get wickets and we were all about taking wickets and breaking partnerships. But we could not break the sixth wicket partnership.” That stand of 35 runs between Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews won the game for Sri Lanka, but had already broken, it would have opened the tail for New Zealand.

Mathews joined Samaraweera at the crease with the score on 185 for five, still needed 33 to win and with the required rate pushing her way to a run a ball. Southee had just then a girl but instead of putting pressure on the other end and completed Vettori allowed Jesse Ryder, who conceded just nine points in his first over, to continue. “I had to get through a number of acquisitions, Jesse was already in the game,” Vettori explained.

He was not going to go as far as to blame someone, even young Southee, who persisted in short balls at the end of the Sri Lankan innings, Sri Lanka were not too scared. “Short Bowling is a good plan, but you should get in the right areas. Tim Southee has a great tournament and I can not blame him.” Vettori has praised the efforts of the whole team to say he was “impressed” with the way they drafted.

If there is a hint of sadness to go home and not go to Mumbai, he did not show it. Maybe it’s because the performance the team had in this World Cup is better than showing they have had in the last nine months, when she was four ODI series Lost to subcontinental sides. Perhaps because it gives him such a boost to sign off on this note of the captain, knowing that the team has regained its ability to fight.

“Naturally we are very disappointed. We fought so hard to stay in the tournament,” he said. It was determined fight that will see New Zealand are not ashamed or humiliated, but like their captain, proud of what they achieved and realistic about what they hope to do in the future.


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