Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets to win the World Cup for the fifth time.
The record 93,013 spectators at MCG witnessed absolute dominance as Australia smashed New Zealand in the final. It was a complete performance by the Aussies from the very first ball of the match. Every player of the team chipped in to give the Kiwis a taste of true Aussie power and show the cricket world who is the true champion. It was a fitting exit for Captain Michael Clarke who had announced the final would be his last one-day international.
After winning the toss, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum decided to bat first but would have regretted that decision from the start. Mitchell Starc beat the bat then found the wicket in the first few balls of the first over to send McCullum back to the pavilion for a duck. Ken Williamson and Martin Guptill tried to rebuild, adding 32 runs until Clarke brought spinner Glenn Maxwell into the attack. Guptill fell to Maxwell’s second ball. Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson joined the party in the next over, claiming the wicket of Williamson.
Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott fought back strong to add 111 runs in the fourth wicket stand.
Their partnership was leading New Zealand towards a respectable total but James Faulkner struck immediately when brought into the power play attack by Clarke. Faulkner took two key wickets – Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson – in that over to put Australia in driving seat. At five down for 150 New Zealand struggled, scoring just 183 for the loss of all 10 wickets in 45 overs. Their final seven wickets fell for just 33 runs. Grant Elliot high scored with an uncharacteristically dour 83 while Johnson and Faulkner grabbed three wickets each.
Australia got off to a shaky start as Aaron Finch went cheaply, but David Warner made a quickfire 45 to set a tone of aggression and purpose before he fell. The stage was set for Captain Clarke to reward the ground’s general welcome with a fitting finale.
With Steve Smith at his side Clarke scored 74 in just 72 deliveries to add 112 runs for the fourth wicket. When Clarke fell nine runs shy of the win, the entire record crowd seemed to stand to applaud his grit and show respect for his achievement. Clarke raised his bat and looked to the sky as he acknowledged the absence of his late former teammate Phil Hughes.
Smith stayed calm and steady to record his fifth consecutive ODI 50 while scoring the winning runs. – Photos and report by Md Zahin
New Zealand 183/10 in 45 overs ( Johnson 3/30, Faulkner 3/36, Starc 2/20, Elliott 83)
Australia 186/3 in 33.1 overs ( Clarke 74, Smith 56, Henry 2/46)
Australia won by seven wickets
Man of the match: James Faulkner
Man of the tournament: Mitchell Starc