In a surreal game-within-a-game scenario, New Zealand have missed a place in the semi-finals at cricket's Champions Trophy.
They needed Australia to beat Sri Lanka by a narrow margin in the final round robin match at the Oval in London. Sri Lanka won by 20 runs after being asked to bat and making 253 for eight. Mahela Jayawardene top scored with 84 from 81 balls.
Australia needed to reach the target within 29.1 overs to make the top four; they could only manage 189 for eight. From there New Zealand stood a slim chance of surviving if Australia could win the game with Adam Voges set on 48 and Clint McKay on four. Australia needed 65 runs from 125 balls but did not have the resources to prevail. Voges was caught at long-on from the bowling of Rangana Herath for 49.
However, the match hung in the balance with McKay and No.11 Xavier Doherty surviving for 12.1 overs and putting on 41 for the 10th wicket. Tillakaratne Dilshan snaffled McKay for 30 with a one-handed caught and bowled to wrap up the match.
The semi-finals will see England play South Africa at the Oval on Wednesday and Sri Lanka play India in Cardiff on Thursday.
It represents another disappointing tournament for New Zealand who dictated their own destiny until losing by 10 runs to England yesterday in Cardiff.
New Zealand also narrowly missed the play-offs at the World T20 in Sri Lanka during September.