Melbourne: Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming on Monday said the wicket of Black Caps batsman Ross Taylor was the turning point of the World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia.
Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday to clinch their fifth World Cup title.
"Taylor's wicket was the turning point of the match. It negated the powerplay and when it became two in three deliveries and then three in eight, the Black Caps found themselves in a position from which they never recovered," Fleming wrote in a column for International Cricket Council (ICC).
Fleming said many might criticise skipper Brendon McCullum for getting out in the very first over, but it was the skipper who took on the opposition's bowling attack in the entire tournament.
"There may be those who will criticise Brendon McCullum for getting out in the first over after looking being positive from the outset but I will not be one of them. After all, you cannot have it both ways," he said.
"McCullum's approach propelled the side forward throughout the journey to the final and he was lauded for it so you cannot suddenly say he should have played in a different way just because it did not come off this time."
The 41-year-old credited the five-time champions Australia and particularly pacer Mitchell Starc for putting up an impressive performance in the big final.
"I would rather give Australia - and Starc in particular - credit for the way they bowled, but the frustrating thing from a New Zealand perspective is that, having weathered the storm at the top of the innings, it all fell to pieces when a platform had been laid," the former skipper said.
"My overriding emotions in the immediate aftermath of the match were pride at the way the team performed throughout the tournament as they really have put cricket front and centre again in the country and that is a fantastic achievement."
The former left-handed batsman felt sorry for Kiwi spin legend Daniel Vettori for landing on the losing side in his last World Cup match.
"It is especially sad for Daniel Vettori not to end up with a World Cup winner’s medal after his yeoman service but he did look like he was struggling in the field and was obviously carrying some sort of niggle. And he will still, I am sure, look back at these last few months as an absolute career highlight," Fleming said.