NZ 200-9 (50 overs)
Aust 206-4 (45.2 overs)
The loss of inspirational captain Daniel Vettori just hours before New Zealand's cricket Champions Trophy final against Australia in South Africa today was a huge blow, stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum said.
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.
Australia had a huge fight on their hands at six for two against some inspired bowling from Shane Bond and Kyle Mills, but Shane Watson again kept a cool head with his second successive unbeaten century to steer Australia home at 206 for four two balls into the 46th over.
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."
New Zealand had struggled with injury woes right throughout the tournament, losing allrounder Jacob Oram, opening batsman Jesse Ryder and fast bowler Daryl Tuffey in rapid succession.
McCallum said that despite those losses, and the absence of Vettori, the Black Caps still felt they had the resources to win today's final.
"We've certainly came together as a group over this last couple of weeks, and we've gone through some pretty tough times in terms of losing some key players," he said.
"But I still thought we had the calibre of player, and also a good self-belief in the unit that we'd be able to put Australia under pressure and hopefully come out with the result, but it wasn't to be."
McCullum 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.
The loss of Neil Broom in the 41st over was another key moment as, in tandem with James Franklin, he had started to build some momentum.
Broom was run out on 37 after a breakdown in communication, leaving New Zealand struggling on 159 for six.
"I thought when Neil Broom was run out it was obviously quite an important point in the game," McCullum said.
"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."
New Zealand started brilliantly with the ball, as Bond removed Tim Paine (one) in the second over and Mills had Ricky Ponting (one) plumb in the next.
Watson and Cameron White weathered the storm patiently - Australia were 19 for two after 11 overs - and wrestled back control, forcing the Black Caps to wait until the 35th over for their third wicket.
White fell to Mills, bowled for 62 off 140 balls, but the 128-run partnership had already secured the win.
McCullum paid tribute to the work Bond and Mills did with the new ball.
"I thought they were brilliant to take out the first couple of wickets in the fashion they did - it was a fantastic effort.
"They kept coming in and trying to give it their all but unfortunately we didn't provide them with enough runs."