Cape Town - Proteas skipper AB de Villiers admits that the Proteas were beaten by the superior team in the fourth ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton.
Black Caps opening batsman Martin Guptill powered his side to a convincing seven-wicket victory on Wednesday.
De Villiers decided to bat first as the Proteas got off to a horrid start by losing opening Quinton de Kock in the first over.
The skipper top-scored for his side, making an unbeaten 72, while Faf du Plessis contributed 67 and Hashim Amla 40 as the Proteas set 279/8 in their 50 overs.
However, it wasn't enough, as Guptill (180*) and Ross Taylor (66) put on a 180-run third wicket partnership to level the five-match ODI series 2-2.
"We didn't play our best cricket, especially the second half of it," De Villiers told reporters after the match.
"I wasn't completely happy with our skill set tonight and in the rest of the series we've been bowling really well. There also just wasn't that spark in the field.
"The wicket played really well through 100 overs and we were beaten by the better team today.
"But we need to get our act together for the final now."
Guptill, who came back to the side after recovering from an injury, was in majestic form as he plundered 11 sixes and 15 fours in his unbeaten 180 from 138 balls.
"It was really difficult to set a field to him (Guptill) and we maybe gave him a few boundary balls as well, but he played a fantastic knock and a lot of credit has to go to him. It was a very special innings," said De Villiers.
"Eden Park will be a new game and a new challenge and we know we have to start all over again. Hopefully we bowl a bit better to him in that game."
The result was bad news for the Proteas in terms of the ICC ODI rankings, as they surrendered top spot to Australia with the loss.
The fifth and final deciding ODI will take place in Auckland on Saturday, starting at 03:00 (SA time).