It may be a small consolation to New Zealand that their elimination from the Champions Trophy was the product of magnificent, history-making cricket. Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan combined for a fifth-wicket partnership of 224, taking Bangladesh from a position of doom to a victory secured with swagger and scintillating strokeplay. It was the highest stand in Bangladesh's ODI history and, given the circumstances in the game and the importance of the match, quite possibly the best, too. The élan of their centuries seemed to represent much more than merely giving Bangladesh a chance of making the Champions Trophy semi-finals. It also encapsulated how, with 160 million people, an improving economy and fierce self-belief, Bangladesh loom as world cricket's next major force.
And yet no amount of resplendent shot-making could disguise how New Zealand had been acquiescent in their own downfall. They threatened to make 320 yet only limped to 265. They reduced Bangladesh to 33-4 with brilliant swing bowling then offered little threat. Perhaps most infuriatingly of all, they even mislaid their discipline in the field: New Zealand bowled a full 18 wides, each one cheered as fervently by the raucous Bangladeshi crowd as Jeremy Corbyn when he returned to UK Labour's HQ a few hours earlier.
The upshot was that New Zealand were out of the Champions Trophy without registering a win. And, while they can claim misfortune in their opening game, when rain intervened at Edgbaston with Australia looking precarious, no such mitigation can be offered about their two performances at Cardiff this week. On both occasions, New Zealand have been on course for victory into the second innings, but ultimately succumbed meekly.
Start with the batting. It is a tale that has long been wearily familiar. In both games at Cardiff, New Zealand have cleared 150, for the loss of only two wickets, before the 30th over was up: a position from which, in the modern ODI game, 300 should be cleared with ease.
But, too often, not in this New Zealand team. After Kane Williamson's dismissal against Bangladesh, running himself out attempting to scamper a single, New Zealand still appeared supremely placed, reaching 200 in the 39th over, with seven wickets remaining for the lower order blitz. It never came. Ross Taylor, always rather becalmed in taking 82 balls over his 63, picked out short fine leg. Bangladesh then exploited New Zealand's struggles accelerating against spin in the death overs - their run rate against spin in the final ten overs of the innings is only 6.95 since the 2015 World Cup, compared to 7.72 against pace - by using Mosaddek Hossain's auxiliary offspin, which had only claimed seven wickets in 16 previous ODIs. New Zealand had no riposte: Neil Broom got a leading edge attempting a hoick to leg; Corey Anderson played all around his first ball and was lbw.
So much for modern power hitting: New Zealand managed only two boundaries, both from Tim Southee's bat, in their last seven overs, and a solitary six, from Martin Guptil, in all, even with Cardiff's enticing straight boundaries. Jimmy Neesham and Anderson, expected to provide ballast at six and seven, have instead contributed a combined 65 runs at 10.83 apiece this tournament. Colin de Grondhome, groomed for a finisher's role during New Zealand's home summer, has been left unused. Mitchell Santner, who has occupied his previous role at number eight, has failed to replicate his power.
The trouble, though, begins much higher up. Since his breezy 65 against Australia, Luke Ronchi has seemed like a gambler indulging in one spin too many at the roulette wheel; his helter-skelter 16 is in keeping with his returns since the World Cup. That leaves only three other batsmen of the required calibre: Martin Guptil, who has failed to convert his starts into match-shaping scores; Taylor, who has been consistent at a prosaic strike rate; and Williamson, on whom New Zealand are inordinately dependent. The recall of Broom says more about the dearth of alternatives than his own qualities.
New Zealand's bowling has been equally top-heavy. They are the only side to have taken three wickets in the opening ten overs of the tournament, and managed the feat twice - against Australia and at Cardiff, as Southee located delicious late swing after the sun come out. Yet against Bangladesh the bowlers relinquished a position of high promise in much the same way as the batsmen had earlier. When the ball lost its swing, the bowlers lost their threat. Mitchell Santner never threatened; his selection ahead of Jeetan Patel for this tournament has been a defensive option, borne of worries about the length of New Zealand's tail.
Both Anderson and Neesham have also been underwhelming with the ball; intended to provide depth with bat and ball, they have succeeded in doing neither. The sight of Williamson bringing himself on just after Mahmudullah and Shakib's stand had extended beyond a hundred embodied New Zealand's paucity of ideas in the field.
And as Bangladesh sauntered to victory, inconceivable given the bedlam with which their innings began, it felt as if the two cricket teams were moving in very different trajectories. While Bangladesh surge, clinching a second consecutive five-wicket win over New Zealand, to go with the one they managed against an under-strength team in Dublin last month, New Zealand have failed to regenerate since their intoxicating run to the World Cup final. Their ODI ranking of fourth seems an apter reflection of the team's past achievements than their current standing in the global game. For now, all that can be done is cheer on England - and the rain - against Australia.
-By Tim Wigmore