Australia and the art of making World Cup finals no contests
Borrowing from football and mangling a Gary Linekar line: ODI cricket is a simple game. Twenty-two play and at the end, the Australians win.WorldCup2015 Updated: Mar 29, 2015 17:11 IST
Borrowing from football and mangling a Gary Linekar line: ODI cricket is a simple game. Twenty-two play and at the end, the Australians win.
Their fifth World Cup trophy and two runners-up finishes (1975 and 1996) in 11 editions serves a reminder of how powerful their cricketers have been in the ODI event that really counts.
Barring 1987, the Australians made their four other World Cup wins — hat-trick of 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015 — virtual no contests.
Here is a look at their wins.
1987: AUSTRALIA BEAT ENGLAND BY SEVEN RUNS AT EDEN GARDENS
Because of the shorter daylight hours on the sub-continent all matches were played over 50 overs, now the standard length, instead of 60.
Opener David Boon's sedate 75 and middle-order batsman Mike Veletta’s quickfire, unbeaten 45 took Australia to 253-5 which seemed to be not enough.
England appeared to be cruising to victory at Kolkata's Eden Gardens when Mike Gatting tried a reverse sweep off opposition captain Allan Border's first delivery and lobbed a simple catch.
A well-drilled and disciplined Australia side went on to win by seven runs.
1999: AUSTRALIA BEAT PAKISTAN BY EIGHT WICKETS AT LORD'S
Australia, the world's best Test side, made a no contest of the final against Pakistan, taking barely 4-1/2 hours to overwhelm the 1992 champions.
Pakistan were all out for 132 in 39 overs, with leg-spinner Shane Warne taking four wickets.
Wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist smashed 54 off 36 balls as the Aussies chased down the total in 20.1 overs with eight wickets to spare.
2003: AUSTRALIA BEAT INDIA BY 125 RUNS IN JOHANNESBURG
Australia's new one-day captain Ricky Ponting struck eight sixes in his 140 not out in the final against India as his team scaled new heights with a relentless 125-run victory.
The Australians became the first team to win three World Cups and took their unbeaten run in the tournament to 16.
Riding on Ponting's imperious ton and half-centuries from Adam Gilchrist and Damien Martyn, Australia made 359-2.
The total proved too tough for India who were bundled out for 234 inside 40 overs despite 82 from opener Virender Sehwag.
2007: AUSTRALIA BEAT SRI LANKA BY 53 RUNS (D/L) IN BARBADOS
Adam Gilchrist bettered Ponting's record tally in a final with a typically audacious 149.
Australia finished with victory over Sri Lanka in a rain-shortened final at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The win gave Australia their third title in a row and fourth overall World Cup title.
2015: AUSTRALIA BEAT NEW ZEALAND BY SEVEN WICKETS IN MELBOURNE
By dismissing New Zealand’s talismanic skipper Brendon McCullum for 0 in the first over and reducing the Kiwis to 39/3 in 12.2 overs, Australia got a grip on their fifth World Cup title early.
Grant Elliott played a lone hand of 83 off 82 balls, but the Aussies were always in command. New Zealand folded up for a below par 183 and Australia overhauled it with ease, adding the latest chapter to their illustrious cricketing history and giving skipper Michael Clarke the perfect ODI retirement memento.