|Ground:||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne|
|Scorecard:||Australia v New Zealand|
|Player:||JP Faulkner, MJ Clarke, SPD Smith, LRPL Taylor, GD Elliott, DA Warner|
|Event:||ICC World Cup 2014/15|
DateLine: 29th March 2015
Four time champions Australia defeated co–hosts New Zealand, by seven wickets in a one-sided final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne. Playing in front of 92,000 cricket fans, Australia delivered a clinical performance with both bat and ball to lift their fifth World Cup trophy. New Zealand’s mediocre total of 183 was overhauled by Australia in 33 overs for a seven wicket victory. James Faulkner was adjudged the Man of the Match for his figures of 3 for 36.
Mitchell Starc won the Player of the Tournament award for his efforts of 22 wickets in the tournament. He is also the leading wicket taker in the tournament, while Kiwi Martin Guptill topped the runs table.
Having won the toss, Kiwis Captain Brendon McCullum, decided to bat first and put runs on the board. New Zealand got off to the worst possible start, with Starc dismissing Brendon McCullum for a duck in the first over of the match. Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson followed the Captain to the dressing room in quick succession. Struggling at the score of 39 for 3, veteran Ross Taylor along with last match’s hero Grant Elliott combined to a forge a 111-run partnership.
New Zealand lost their way in the batting powerplay losing three wickets for 15 runs. Faulkner and Johnson cleaned up the rest of the batting line up to wrap the Kiwis innings for a score of 183 in 45 overs. Grant Elliott was the only saving grace in the New Zealand innings with an 82 – ball 83, which included 7 fours and 1 six. Faulkner and Johnson were the main destructors of the Kiwis innings with three wickets each. Starc with two and Maxwell, who grabbed the prize wicket of Guptill, supported the pacers.
Chasing a target of 184, Aussies began in similar fashion by losing opener, Finch for a duck to Boult in the second over. David Warner and Steven Smith counter-attacked to form a quick fifty-run partnership. With the game now slipping away, Henry did strike to dismiss Warner for a 46 – ball 45.
Playing his last one day international Captain Michael Clarke combined with Steven Smith to guide Australia to a seven-wicket victory. Clarke fell for a 72 – ball 73 to Matt Henry with nine runs still needed for the win. Smith who scored his fifth fifty in the tournament sent the fans into rapture by hitting the winning runs. For New Zealand, Henry picked two wickets, while Boult chipped in with one.
Australia delivered a professional performance in the finals, while the pressure of playing their first final led to the downfall of the Black Caps. Their unbeaten run in the World Cup unfortunately came to an end in the all important final. It must also be said that playing in home conditions may have helped Australia in defeating their opponents.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Arun S Kaimal)