Mount Maunganui: India captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday berated his bowlers for their mediocre performance as he tried to explain the team's first ODI series whitewash in over three decades, saying that the visitors lacked composure all through.
The five-wicket defeat here meant that India lost the series 0-3 to an injury-plagued New Zealand that had been deflated by a 0-5 whitewash of its own in the T20 format just last week. It was India's first whitewash in 31 years in an ODI series in which all matches have been played.
"The games were not as bad as the scoreline suggests. It boils down to those chances that we didn't grab. I don't think it was not enough to win games in international cricket," Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
"With the ball, we were not able to make breakthroughs, we were not at all good on the field. We haven't played so badly but when you don't grab those chances, you don't deserve to win," he added.
"Batsmen coming back from tough situations was a positive sign for us, but the way we fielded and bowled, the composure wasn't enough to win games," he asserted.
The ineffectiveness of Indian bowlers can be gauged from the fact that the team's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah finished the series without a wicket and the attack couldn't dismiss the complete rival line-up even once.
Kohli lauded New Zealand for bouncing back after the T20 hammering.
"New Zealand played with lot more intensity. We didn't deserve to win because we did not show enough composure," he said.
The batting mainstay is looking forward to the Test series, which begins on February 21, to make amends for the disappointment.
"I think because of the Test Championship, every match has that more importance. We have a really balanced Test team and we feel we can win the series here, but we need to step on to the park with the right kind of mindset," he said.
His opposite number Kane Williamson, who missed the first two games due to injury, was lavish in his praise for the home team's grit.
"An outstanding performance, very clinical. India put us under pressure, but the way the guys fought back with the ball and kept them to a par total. The cricket in the second half was outstanding to see," he said referring to the side's effortless chase of a 297-run target.
"We know how good they (India) are at all formats but for us the clarity about the roles the guys had was the most important thing. Outstanding effort against a brilliant India side," he added.
Player of the Match Henry Nicholls, who scored 80 on Tuesday, said his team benefitted from good batting starts during the series.
"To come back and win 3-0 after the T20Is is nice. The way (Martin) Guptill played today allowed us to get ahead. We got a 100-run stand, but we were fortunate enough to get good starts this series," he said.