Australia ease past New Zealand to win World Cup final at MCG
Michael Clarke raised his bat to acknowledge the massive crowd, and nodded to a fallen teammate he credited for inspiring Australia's run to a fifth World Cup title that culminated with an emphatic win over New Zealand.WorldCup2015 Updated: Apr 03, 2015 00:24 IST
Michael Clarke raised his bat to acknowledge the massive crowd, and nodded to a fallen teammate he credited for inspiring Australia's run to a fifth World Cup title that culminated with an emphatic win over New Zealand.
Clarke scored 74 and shared a 112-run partnership with Steve Smith (56 not out) as the skipper and the likely future captain spearheaded Australia to the winning target of 184 in the 34th over at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
It didn't end absolutely perfectly for Clarke, who also played in the winning team in 2007, when he was bowled by Matt Henry nine runs short of the target in his 245th and last one-day international.
But it was close enough. Smith hit the winning runs as Australia reached 186-3 for a seven-wicket victory.
Australia's left-arm pacers did the damage early, with Mitchell Starc (2-20), Mitchell Johnson (3-30) and Man of the Match James Faulkner (3-36) combining to dismiss previously unbeaten tournament co-host New Zealand for 183 in 45 overs.
Starc bowled New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum for a duck on the fifth ball, after the Black Caps won the toss and batted in their first away game of the tournament.
The wicket capped an outstanding World Cup for Starc, who was voted Player of the Tournament for his 22 wickets at an average of 10.18 in an event where bat dominated ball.
He, like Clarke, wore a black arm band featuring the initials PH in memory of former Australia teammate Phillip Hughes, who died after being struck by a ball in a domestic first-class match last November.
"I'll wear it every game I play for Australia," said Clarke, who plans to continue as Test captain. "It's been a really tough few months - we've played this World Cup with 16 players. Tonight (Sunday night), this is dedicated to our little brother and teammate Phillip Hughes.
"I'm over the moon - what a tournament," Clarke added. "Time is right for me to walk away from one-day cricket."
New Zealand captain McCullum said he had no regrets.
"It's been one hell of a ride for us," he said. "Right the way through, we played some outstanding cricket, and we ran into an outstanding Australian team today (Sunday). They're deserved champions, and Michael Clarke deserved to bow out a World Cup-winning champion."
After slipping to 39-3 in the 13th over, New Zealand recovered in a 111-run stand between Grant Elliott (83) and Ross Taylor (40) before Faulkner triggered the rapid demise with two wickets in three balls in a period when Australia took three wickets for one run in eight deliveries.
The last seven New Zealand wickets fell for 33 runs.
"At 150-3 in 35 overs, most times this team would have believed we were capable of 270 or 280 if not more," McCullum said. "It was a little unlucky for Ross to get out the way he did, and then we saw Australia really bare its teeth and put the hammer down on us. That was possibly the pivotal stage."
Not to be counted out, having bowled out Australia for 151 in a one-wicket pool win at Auckland a month ago, New Zealand took a wicket in the second over to make the chase more interesting.
Trent Boult, who took 5-27 against Australia in Auckland, took a return catch to remove Aaron Finch (0) - his tournament co-leading 22nd wicket - but David Warner (45) and Smith steadied the chase with a 61-run partnership in 64 balls.
Warner's dismissal, caught by Elliott off Henry's bowling, brought Clarke to the crease to raucous cheering from the crowd of 93,013, a cricket attendance record in Australia. And the 33-year-old skipper responded by removing any doubt about the result.
The New Zealanders were the story of the tournament, led by McCullum's enterprising captaincy. On home turf, though, it was Clarke who had the better of the exchange, with his bowling changes netting wickets quickly, and his fielding changes cutting down the run flow and contributing to dismissals.
Starc ensured New Zealand made the worst possible start by beating McCullum's bat twice before bowling him for a third-ball duck.
Martin Guptill (15), who scored 105, a World Cup-record unbeaten 237, and 34 in his previous three innings, survived the early pace battery but succumbed immediately to spin, bowled by Glenn Maxwell's second ball in the 12th over, and finished as the tournament leading scorer with 547 runs.
Taylor faced 71 deliveries before edging a wider ball from Faulkner at the start of the batting power play, and was well caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi followed quickly, and Daniel Vettori, likely playing his last international game, couldn't hang around with Elliott long enough to produce the kind of late partnership that helped New Zealand to a next-to-last-ball semifinal win over South Africa.
India defended 183 to win the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies, but New Zealand always faced an uphill battle at the MCG.
Highlights of Australia innings
31.1 overs | M. HENRY TO M. CLARKE
OUT! A brilliant last innings! Short of a length around off, Clarke looks to guide this one but gets an inside edge onto the stumps. 74 of 72 in his last match, take a bow skipper! McCullum appreciates his efforts and gives him a good farewell.
12.2 overs | M. HENRY TO D. WARNER
OUT! Warner perishes! Another short delivery around off, Warner pulls this one to mid-wicket. Elliott comes in running and takes a good low catch to get rid off the well set opener.
1.4 overs | T. BOULT TO A. FINCH
OUT! Boult strikes! An inside edge and onto the pads, gone! Terrific inswinging delivery around middle, Finch looks to flick this one but gets an inside edge onto the pads. The ball hits the pads and balloons straight back to Boult who makes no mistake and takes an easy catch. A dream start for the Kiwis.
Highlights of New Zealand innings
Faulkner, in the very first over of the Powerplay, struck twice in the span of 3 deliveries to peg the Kiwis back when they were looking good. Starc, Hazlewood, Johnson, Maxwell and Faulkner were stupendous with the ball. Fielding as usual was brilliant from the Aussies. After winning the toss New Zealand would have hoped for much more on board but were stemmed at 183 which coincidentally was also the score of the 1983 World Cup final and the Indians were able to defends that. Join us for the Aussie run chase in a while.
Another power packed performance from the Aussies. They tend to lift their game when it matters the most and they have done just the same in this mega final as well. After getting the big fish, McCullum, in the first over itself, the Kiwis were on the back foot since then. Williamson and Guptill departed soon after the first wicket. Taylor and Elliott then stuck together and resurrected the innings with a 111-run stand. They were looking good till the batting Powerplay was enforced on them.
44.6 overs | M. JOHNSON TO T. BOULT
OUT! Brilliant piece of fielding from Maxwell. Aussies are known for this! Boult makes room and Johnson follow him with a short delivery. Boult fends it on the on side short mid-wicket where Maxwell collects the ball, turns in a jiffy and scores a direct hit at the bowler's end. Southee tries to get back in the crease but his bat gets stuck at the tip of the crease. The replays verify that and he is a goner. New Zealand miseries continue. They finish at 183.
44.5 overs | M. JOHNSON TO M. HENRY
OUT! Another duck! Full toss delivery outside off, Henry cuts this one straight to the fielder at cover-point. Starc stationed at the edge of the circle takes it easily. New Zealand are nine down!
41.5 overs | J. FAULKNER TO G. ELLIOTT
OUT! Done in by subtle variation! A slower one around off, Elliott looks to slog it off the front foot but gets a top edge through to the keeper who takes a sitter. Brilliant innings comes to an end. Hopes of getting to a respectable total diminishing. Faulkner doing all the damage here.
36.2 overs | M. STARC TO L. RONCHI
OUT! Got him! Full and just outside off, angled away, Ronchi goes for the expansive drive but only manages to edge that one towards Clarke at first slip who squats low on his knees and pouches it with a reverse cup. Australia right back on top.
35.3 overs | J. FAULKNER TO C. ANDERSON
OUT! Cleaned him up! Two wickets off the first 3 deliveries! A yorker around middle and off, Anderson is late in getting his bat down and the ball deflects off the back pad and rattles into the stumps. New Zealand pegged back, courtesy some good bowling from Faulkner. Once again the rebuilding work has to start.
35.1 overs | J. FAULKNER TO R. TAYLOR
OUT! That is a terrific catch! Taylor has to walk back! Full and wide outside off, a back of the hand slower one, Taylor reaches out for it and looks to squeeze it through the backward point region but his bat hits the ground and may be the outside edge towards Haddin who dives low and a long way to his right to take a one-handed stunner. The replays show that the bat hit the ground and then took the outside edge on its way to Haddin. That was a terrific catch. Much needed breakthrough for the Aussies. Wicket off the first delivery of the Powerplay.
11.2 overs | G. MAXWELL TO M. GUPTILL
OUT! Guptill is done by an ordinary delivery! Short and just outside off, spins in a tad, Guptill camps back to punch that one but plays the wrong line and sees his off stump pegged back. He has given it away to Maxwell after getting through the difficult stage.
0.5 overs | M. STARC TO B. MCCULLUM
OUT! Dead duck! Timber! This time it is not missing the stumps! A very full delivery around off, shapes in a tad, McCullum tries to drive that one but is beaten by pace and the ball goes under his bat and crashes into the off stump. That is a disastrous start for the Kiwis. Starc is ecstatic. New Zealand lose their trump card.
Toss | New Zealand won the toss, elected to bat first
Squad |Aus XI: Clarke, Warner, Finch, Smith, Maxwell, Watson, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Starc, Hazlewood
NZ XI: McCullum, Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Elliott, Anderson, Ronchi, Vettori, Southee, Henry, Boult