Johannesburg:England skipper Andrew Strauss deplored the preparation of the pitch at the Wanderers stadium where his side was bundled out for a scrimpy 146 and lost their last Group B Champions Trophy match to New Zealand.
England lost by four wickets, clearing New Zealand's way into the semifinals on Tuesday.
Strauss blamed the 22-yard pitch for their defeat though he praised Kiwi openers for their splendid 84-run partnership which the took the game away from them.
"I don't think it's a great wicket for one-day cricket. You will like to see a wicket which is more consistent. Earlier we didn't quite get it.
"But credit must go to New Zealand the way they came at us with the bat, especially McCullum and Guptil," Strauss said after match, yesterday.
New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori was effusive in his praise for both the bowlers and his openers. He said the opening wicket stand between Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptil ultimately proved crucial in their win as they stuttered to a four-wicket win.
"It was not predetermined. I think they (McCullum and Guptil) had in their minds that some of these small totals are very tricky to chase. They just played their natural game and gave us a good start. If we didn't have got that start, it could have turned out to be really tricky," Vettori said after the match.
The Kiwis lost five wickets in the fag end of their run chase after McCullum (48) and Guptil (53) set the stage for the win.
Vettori praised his bowlers, especially Grant Elliot (4/31) for bowling out a strong England batting line-up for less than 150.
"I am pleased with the bowlers. The toss was crucial as it was a difficult wicket to bat early on. We managed to put some pressure on England early on.
"Elliot gave us little bit of strength in the middle and bowling England out for less than 150 was a pretty good effort," the Kiwi captain said.
Meanwhile, Man-of-the-Match Grant Elliot said he was happy to contribute to the team's victory.
"When I came here today I never thought I will be getting man-of-the-match for bowling. I was called upon today, I didn't bowl much in Sri Lanka so there was a bit of pressure on me today and I am happy that I came out good," Elliot said.