New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum blamed for poor batting for the 10-run defeat against England in a rain-hit match here on Sunday. "It was huge moment for us but we let the opportunity pass," he said in a post-match chat.
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New Zealand lost half their batting side for 62 runs in the 24th over and managed to put up a fight only after Kane Williamson struck a 54-ball 67 and stitched 73 runs for the sixth wicket with debutant Corey Anderson at the Sophia Gardens.
"Our batting needs work. There was pressure after we lost early wickets and the England pacers really bowled well," McCullum said.
The Kiwi skipper didn't make an issue of the controversial Stuart Broad no-ball that claimed the wicket of Williamson. TV replays showed Broad's heel overstepping the line, but Williamson was given out.
"It was close, real close. Sometimes the rub of the green doesn't go your way. But that's the way it goes," McCullum said.
Williamson was unhappy that New Zealand got close but could not finish the job. "It's a shame that we lost our wickets at key times," he said, adding: "We lost our momentum every time a wicket went down."
The 22-year-old Williamson, who has played for Gloucestershire, said he was too wary of James Anderson's incoming deliveries. "The challenge of the scoreboard was too much and there was no time to think of him," he told an English journalist.
New Zealand (three points from three matches) now await the outcome of Monday's last group A ICC Champions Trophy match between Sri Lanka and Australia. Only an Australian win will bring the Kiwis back in the reckoning for a spot in the semis.
"Really like Australia to play some excellent cricket against Lanka," McCullum said jokingly, but on a serious note added: "Can't expect Australia to do us a favour. We didn't take our opportunities at the end of the day."