By Niall Anderson in London
They wouldn't go as far as saying they deserved to be Cricket World Cup champions, but co-champions?
Yeah, that would have been the fairest result in the eyes of the Black Caps.
Well, maybe they didn't quite say that, either. The always-respectful side faced a short-ball barrage of questions as they fronted the media after their heartbreaking
tie loss against England in the World Cup final, and instead of hooking and pulling with contempt, they ducked, weaved, and wore a few on the chin.
To steal a golf analogy from coach Gary Stead, it was par for the course, really. A team moulded from the Bryan Adams school of public relations – "Ain't no use in complainin', when you got a job to do" - it would have been out of character for the Black Caps to moan about decisions, even potentially Cup-costing ones.
The umpires' blunder with the overthrows? Part of the game, they tell you. The tough lbw decisions? Not much you can do about that, they say. The bizarre final tiebreaker being boundaries? Well, the result doesn't change, you'll be told.
All fair responses, but, such is the Black Caps' heartbreak and dejection, that when another rising query was dug in – "Should the title have been shared?" - even the most defensive of his media-trained wicket couldn't help but have a nibble.
"At the end of seven weeks at a big tournament like this, when you have two teams that can't be separated at the end of a 50 over match and then a Super Over – neither team deserves to lose," offered Craig McMillan.
"Neither side did actually lose, in many ways, in terms of runs scored, so then perhaps sharing the trophy might have been the right thing to do."
"When you play over a seven week period and you can't be separated on the final day, then that is something that should be considered," added Stead.
"The hard thing that I find is a 50 over competition being decided on a one-over bout, it doesn't seem quite right.
"We didn't score less runs than the opposition, and that's what makes it hard and makes it hurt the most."
So, if you're keeping track - "perhaps" sharing the title should be "something that is considered". That's as strong a stance as you'll get from the Black Caps leadership in controversial times, and even captain Kane Williamson, whose supremely level temperament earned him an ovation at his final press conference, registered some fleeting disappointment at the way the result was decided.
"I think it was a real shame that the tournament was decided the way it was after the two teams went at it in two attempts, and it was still a tie. I guess it was fineprint that decided it.
"It's a strange feeling in some ways to not have a loser of the match, but have a crowned winner."
Frankly, you can't begrudge them one bit for not causing a fuss, as justified as some complaints may indeed be. To do so would be – at least in their view - unfair to England, a deserving champion who were just as magnanimous in victory as the Black Caps were gracious in defeat.
But, still. Boundaries? Boundaries??? I mean, c'mon - right coach?
"I'm sure when they're writing the rules they never expect the World Cup final to happen like that – I'm sure that will be reviewed," said Stead.
"It's a hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs, score the same amount of runs, and still lose the game.
"There was a lot of dejection and I guess bewilderment really, over 'how did that happen' and 'why has it happened this way?'"
Instead, it left Williamson dealing with a sleepless night.
"I woke up wondering whether it was a bad dream," quipped the composed captain.