Melbourne: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum today expressed pride and delight with the way his team performed in the cricket World Cup, despite a comprehensive loss to Australia in the final here today.
"Tonight's performance was obviously somewhat disappointing. But at the same time, I think Australia played better. It came down to one game," a dejected said McCullum at post-match media conference.
"We gave ourselves that opportunity in this tournament with so much on the line, and ultimately Australia stepped up and they were too good for us on the night. Look, it's a credit to them that they were able to do so on a big occasion."
The dangerous opener said he was proud of his team, which won eight consecutive games enroute to the final.
"I am really proud of the guys. I thought the way that we played throughout this tournament, the brand of cricket that we've played, the way we've entertained people, I guess left nothing out there in terms of the character and attitude on the field. I think it's been one hell of a ride and something that we'll remember for the rest of our lives.
"It would have been great to have got the silverware but it wasn't meant to be, but I think what we were able to achieve in this tournament will last for a long time," he said.
In a touch emotional tone, he spoke about what all New Zealand gained from the tournament .
"The friendships we've created, the experiences that we've had, and I guess the people that we've been able to inspire throughout the tournament is something that we're really proud of. It's never nice running second, but sometimes you've got to doff your cap to the winner."
McCullum, however, did say that the defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow.
"It doesn't rankle me because I think they were too good. I think you've got to sometimes acknowledge when a team is better than what you were on the day. Hey, if we played them tomorrow, who knows what the result may be, but on the occasion, on the day, they stepped up and they delivered. I thought they obviously put us under early pressure, took three early wickets against us, and then we re-gathered.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity at three for 150, and then they came again at us. All credit to them to be able to grab those key moments."