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Vettori rues batting failures

NEW Zealand captain Daniel Vettori blamed batting failures for his team's disappointing Twenty20 World Cup in which it won only two games against second-tier nations.

New Zealand exited the tournament after a 48-run loss to Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Although it was one win from the semifinals, the Kiwis only beat Scotland and Ireland and lost to semifinalists South Africa and West Indies.

They were hampered by injury problems with Vettori, Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder missing matches but the skipper was not looking for excuses. "We've been helped with a fortunate draw that allowed us to beat only two associate teams and still have a chance of making the semi-finals," he said.

"We were as full strength as we could be without Jesse. We're devastated but injuries were not the reason we lost to Sri Lanka.

"It's definitely not good enough, we were fortunate to have only beaten those two and still be in a position to make the semifinals.

"We just didn't get the runs," he added. "Our highest score in the three important games against South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was 127. And if you look at the scores over the tournament that is nowhere near par and therefore we never gave ourselves a chance."

Vettori said fatigue was not a reason even though some of his leading players featured in the Indian Premier League directly before the Twenty20 World Cup. He said a South Africa-Sri Lanka final looked to be on the cards.

"They play the game at different ends of the spectrum, South Africa with their discipline and skill, and Sri Lanka with the unorthodox nature of their batters and their bowlers," he said.

"They are probably the two teams that deserve to be in the final and it would be an amazing game if they came up against each other."

South Africa meets Pakistan in Nottingham today followed by Sri Lanka against West Indies at the Oval tomorrow. The final will be at Lord's.

A Sri Lanka-Pakistan final would provide an emotional climax to the tournament following the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in March. Captain Kumar Sangakkara was one of six Sri Lanka players wounded by a small group of heavily armed men who killed six Pakistani policemen and the driver of the bus carrying the match officials.

The more likely outcome is an enticing clash of cultures and styles between the innovative and intelligent Sri Lankans and the rigorously drilled and athletic South Africans.



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