New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming believes Sri Lanka has the best bowling attack in this World Cup even though it could not stop him from exploiting whatever advantage he could in the Super Eight match on Thursday.
New Zealand came a cropper by six wickets against Sri Lanka on the day but Fleming ensured that he got away with the run-rate he wanted. "Obviously I wanted to delay the end as much as I could and that's why the final power play was enforced so late," said Fleming in response to query on his decision to take the final Power Play in the 46th over.
So despite the loss, New Zealand has managed to have a net run-rate of +1.26 as compared to the +1.35 of the Sri Lankans. Both have played five games and won four, losing one and managing eight points against their name.
Australia too has eight points but they have played only four games and their nett run-rate is +1.51. South Africa, the fourth team in the order, has played five matches, won three and lost two games. They presently have six points to their name and a run-rate of -0.19.
But Fleming came down hard on his side and termed it a very poor performance by them. "I don't think it was a mistake to take the first strike. It was simply a very poor performance by us. We couldn't put runs on the board and there was no momentum."
Fleming believed his side would have been in with a chance had they managed to put 250 on the board. "Scott Styris batted very well, but the wickets kept falling from the other end and didn't get much support. He thus couldn't accelerate the scoring."
He blamed his side for giving opportunity to Sri Lanka throughout on a miserable day. "Sri Lanka is good if you give them opportunity and we kept giving them opportunity throughout the day."
He said he was aware two big games were coming up for his side against South Africa and Australia, the first one in just after a day's game against the Proteas.
"We have just one day to pick ourselves up. South Africa's attack is fairly orthodox and pace based. They rely on fielding and squeezing the opponents out of the game. It's different to what Sri Lanka was managed to do on the day."