Cricket World Cup: Kane Williamson's pride as Blackcaps fall to India at penultimate hurdle

Even amid the hurt of falling at the penultimate hurdle, the Blackcaps can exit the Cricket World Cup with their heads held high.

Four years on from the heartbreaking World Cup final defeat to England, where New Zealand were beaten on a boundary countback, the Blackcaps quest to make the decider for a third time in succession ultimately fell flat.

As India powered to 397/4 from their 50 overs, thanks to twin centuries from Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, New Zealand could only reply with 327 to lose by 70 runs, thanks largely to 134 runs from Daryl Mitchell.

Kane Williamson congratulates Virat Kohli.
Kane Williamson congratulates Virat Kohli. Photo credit: Photosport

But even in reaching the World Cup's last four, the Blackcaps have - as they so often do - punched above their weight at the highest level.

Up against nations boasting exponentially more resources than New Zealand, both financially and in terms of player depth, the Blackcaps reached the World Cup semi-final for a fifth successive tournament.

For comparison, reigning champions England exited the tournament with a whimper, finishing seventh.

And with India the clear favourites to win their home World Cup, the Blackcaps have twice given cricket's modern colossuses more of a fight than they bargained for.

Had the coin toss landed the other way, there's a more than fair argument to be made that the Blackcaps could have advanced to the final, rather than India.

Kane Williamson.
Kane Williamson. Photo credit: Getty Images

But now out of contention to win the World Cup for the first time, captain Kane Williamson is able to look back with pride at what his side have accomplished in India.  

"I'm proud of the fight, really," said the New Zealand captain. "It was tough, [there was] a lot of movement with the new ball.  

"To give ourselves a bit of a sniff, although a lot of things had to go our way, was a fair effort.  

"Reflecting on whatever it's been, seven weeks of cricket, as a side we can be quite proud of the effort that's gone into getting to where we are.  

"It just didn't quite happen for us today."  

Williamson also rejected any notion that the quality of the pitch excessively favoured India, after reports the surface would be doctored to accommodate the hosts' spinners.  

Instead, three batters made centuries, while fast bowler Mohammed Shami returned figures of 7/57, the best in India's history.  

Had the pitch favoured spin, none of those feats would have likely taken place.  

"It was a used wicket, but a pretty good surface really," he continued. "As we saw, they got plenty out of it in the first half of the match.

"Conditions change as we get under lights and things. That's what we've seen throughout this competition, that's what you'd expect.  

"They played really well. It's disappointing to get to this stage and not go further. But at the same time, you sort of reflect on the seven weeks, rather than the small moments.  

"We lost to a better side."  

Now, Williamson and the Blackcaps will have little time to wallow, with a test tour of Bangladesh beginning on November 28.