In yet another display Aussie ruthlessness and precision,, four time World Champions Australia rode on fifties by captain Michael Clarke — his final ODI — and Steve Smith — who continued with his relentless run of form — to defeat New Zealand by 7 wickets in the World Cup 2015 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was Australia’s fifth World Cup crown – 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015
As Smith pulled the winning boundary to crush a New Zealand fairytale win, Clarke’s side celebrated a glorious end to a journey marked by a period of self-doubt and grief for a fallen teammate. Captain Clarke retires from one-day cricket with his legacy intact but his team will charge on to the 2019 tournament with renewed belief in their ability to re-generate, adapt and rebound from the stiffest of challenges. The epic win comes less than three months after the death of batsman Phillip Hughes, Australia resumed their dominion of world cricket.
Speedster Mitchell Starc gave the Aussies the early breakthrough bowling with a ripper New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum for a third-ball duck, setting the for the hosts’ pacemen who skittled the visitors for 183.After New Zealand won the toss , the Aussies kept piling on the pressure with the new ball as Martin Guptill (15 off 34) and Kane Williamson (12 off 33) never really got going and Williamson misery came to an end as he misread a cutter from Johnson which spooned up in the air to give a simple caught and bowled chance.
Guptill was tied down for quite some time and his eyes lit up when he saw Glenn Maxwell being brought into the attack. The ball before the one he was dismissed, Guptill missed a long-hop and that led to his dismissal in the very next ball, trying to manufacture a short out of a straight ball that didn’t spin and saw his off-stump getting knocked over.
New Zealand from being 33 for 1 slumped to 39 for 3 and that got the old warrior Ross Taylor and the hero of last match Grant Elliott at the crease. Taylor and Elliot weathered the storm as they took the Kiwis past the 100-run mark and the 111-run partnership got the Black Caps right back in the match.
But Faulkner came back and got rid of Taylor (40) to break the partnership and from there on it was more like a landslide for the Kiwis as they lost 6 wickets that yielded only 33 runs. The middle-order fell like a pack of cards with Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (both getting out on ducks)getting their backs to the pavilion without troubling the scorers too much. Daniel Vettori (9) fought hard but it was too much for the veteran as Grant Elliot (83), the last of the recognized batsmen made way for Matt Henry and Tim Southee (11) which was the last nail in the coffin for the Kiwis.
Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner were the pick of the bowlers but Mitchel Starc did his job with the new ball and returned with figures of 2 for 20. Maxwell got through his overs quickly and finished with 1 for 37.
Chasing a paltry target of 184, New Zealand needed early wickets and Trent Boult, like he has done all through out the tournament, came to the party by getting the better off Aaron Finch (0) and Australia lost their first wicket with the score on 2.
But David Warner didn’t waste any time to go after the Kiwis as the scoreboard kept running like a horse in a race course. His 45 off 46 got the Aussies off to a flier before he made way for Michael Clarke in trying to go after a short ball as Matt Henry picked up his first wicket. By the time New Zealand picked up their second wicket Australia were already up and running with the score on 63.
Later, Michael Clarke (74) finished off the proceeding in a princely manner as he called time over his one-day career by taking Australia to the brink of becoming World Champions before losing his wicket to Henry. Steven Smith on the other end gave the Australian skipper good company as the Black Caps did everything to pick up wickets but Clarke-Smith duo kept the Kiwis at bay.
Smith (56) looked unfazed out there in the middle, even when the Aussies lost their first wicket with little on board. He became the only batsmen to score 5 consecutive fifty-plus score in a World Cup that took his country home as Australia (186 for 3) won the World Cup final against New Zealand (183 all out) by 7 wickets with 16.1 overs to spare.
Henry was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand by picking up a couple of wickets as a million New Zealand hopes were dashed by Aussies at the MCG on Sunday as the world gears up to greet the new world champions.
Clarke made the most of his swansong, plundering a team-high score of 74 runs as Australia emphatically wiped away the stain of 1992 when they were knocked out early in their first World Cup on home soil.
Clarke and all-rounder Shane Watson enjoyed their second such triumph, having toasted success in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.