Clarke ??? on his return to the side after injury ??? scored just 12 as Australia collapsed from 80-1 to 151 all out with Trent Boult taking 5-27.
New Zealand struggled with the bat themselves, falling from 131-4 to 146-9 as Mitchell Starc took 6-28 but fifty for Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson???s unbeaten 45 helped them to a one-wicket win.
???We would have liked the result to go the other way but credit to the way Kane played, and Brendon, it was outstanding,??? said Clarke.
???Our batting was horrendous, to put it politely. We were extremely poor, no doubt about that. Our shot selection was poor, but I think both teams would probably say they didn’t bat as well as they would have liked.
???But credit to New Zealand for the way they bowled, I thought they swung the ball really well and executed their skills really well.
???They’ve been playing great cricket for a while now and we were not up to the challenge today.
???We weren’t disciplined enough with our defence and we let ourselves down with the bat. But Mitchell Starc with the ball was a genius.
???We backed ourselves all the way in but we fell one wicket short.???
New Zealand???s captain McCullum was relieved to get over the line and too praised the efforts of Starc, although said he believed he had the two best fast-bowlers in world cricket in his ranks.
???It was one hell of a game,??? said McCullum after his side’s fourth straight win saw them become the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
???Trent Boult was outstanding and Mitchell Starc was outstanding. Both teams showed how quality their bowlers are.
???But without being disrespectful to anyone else, I wouldn’t swap [Southee and Boult] for anyone going around.
???It was an amazing atmosphere, a great game to be a part of, it didn’t go the distance but I’m pretty sure everyone will go home happy.???
Australia and New Zealand are both in action next on Sunday 8 March, with Australia hosting Sri Lanka and New Zealand playing Afghanistan.