Johannesburg: Stand-in New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has said that the loss of inspirational captain Daniel Vettori just hours before New Zealand''s cricket Champions Trophy final against Australia in South Africa was a huge blow.
Australia beat New Zealand by six wickets in the final at SuperSport Park in Centurion after the Black Caps struggled to make just 200 for nine off their 50 overs.
A disappointed McCullum said Vettori had been a pivotal player in New Zealand''s progress through the tournament.
"Losing Daniel Vettori before the toss today was a huge blow," McCullum said afterwards.
"He''s been instrumental in getting us into this final - his batting, his bowling and also his captaincy has played a huge part and it was a huge blow to lose him," the New Zealand Herald quoted McCullum, as saying further.
McCullum also said New Zealand was probably about 50 runs short of a competitive total after they lost wickets regularly, beginning when he fell for a duck early in the fourth over.
"If we''d managed to continue the momentum they''d built up over the previous couple of overs, we may have been able to post something in around that 230-240 region. If we''d done that, with the quick wickets we got at the start, we may have been a chance," he said.