Standin Black Caps captain Brendan McCullum says their final five overs of the Twenty20 series decider was probably the worst batting display the side has produced all summer.
New Zealand came three runs short of victory after being in control for the majority of the game and restricting South Africa to a modest 165 for seven at Eden Park.
After initially cruising along in their run chase, the Black Caps lost a couple of wickets while the South African bowlers stunted their run rate.
The wicket of the recalled Jesse Ryder to have New Zealand needing eight off seven balls was crucial and McCullum says Ryder is distraught about not being able to finish the game off.
But McCullum says many of the players had opportunities they didn't take.