New Zealand must improve with the bat if they are to be competitive in one-day cricket, said Kane Williamson after their six-wicket defeat to South Africa on Saturday.
The Proteas wrapped up the ODI series 3-2 in Auckland with a comfortable victory after winning the toss and bowling the hosts out for 149 - Kagiso Rabada the pick of the bowlers with 3-25.
Only four batsmen got themselves into double figures for the Black Caps, and key men Martin Guptill (4), Ross Taylor (8) and Williamson (9) all failed to deliver.
A 150-run target was never enough to put South Africa under pressure. Even the loss of early wickets could not hinder their progress, as Faf du Plessis and David Miller eased them home.
Williamson acknowledged New Zealand’s batsmen had not fired, and that it is something that they must work on ahead of the Champions Trophy in June.
“Credit to AB and the Proteas for outplaying us in the match,” said the Kiwi skipper.
“It wasn’t easy out there but they bowled very well and we need to improve - it just wasn’t good enough.
“When you take on the best team in the world, you have to raise your game.
“I think what you need to do is put a score on the board that forces the opposition to take a few more risks. They bowled pretty well, they deserve everything they achieved tonight, but from our perspective, we will look to improve and come back hard.
“We need to put in those complete performances and show the signs of improvement.”
The two sides now face each other in three Test matches, starting on Wednesday in Dunedin.