ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2015: Australia vs New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on 29th March 2015 - Match Review
Australia beat New Zealand by 7 wickets at MCG to win the 2015 World Cup.
The D day had finally arrived. After 6 weeks of some pretty riveting cricket the two best teams had reached the final. It was to be played at one of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world – the MCG. Some 90,000 spectators were expected to fill the huge stands and fill they did, those stands were all a vast sea of green and yellow spattered with black and beige!
Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and decided to bat first. That gave them a chance to put pressure on the Australians by putting a decent score on the board and then let their in-form bowlers and pressure do the rest. Brendon McCullum faced up to Starc after Guptill took a single off the second ball and that was when the first big face off of the day took place. McCullum swung and missed at the first ball which just missed his off stump. He charged the second time around but still could not lay bat to ball as it swung a tad on its way to Brad Haddin. It was third time lucky for the Australians and Starc who rattled the stumps with a deadly yorker that McCullum missed again and the Aussies were off on a celebratory run!!
It was all nervy stuff after that for Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill as Starc bowled with fire and looked like taking a wicket with every delivery. Guptill top edged a pull for 6 off Hazlewood that gave the Kiwis some momentary relief and Kane played a lovely straight drive. Just when things seemed to be easing up with Clarke introducing Maxwell, Guptill played back to see his off peg being rattled. Williamson chipped a tame return catch to Johnson 2 overs later as New Zealand slumped to 39-3 in the 13th over and starring down the barrel.
But Ross Taylor and the hero of the semi final for the black caps, Grant Elliott steadied the rocking ship with some cool and calm batting as they collected the singles and twos regularly and kept the score ticking over. Elliott was the more comfortable partner of the two and he looked in ominous form almost carrying off from that six he hit off Steyn the other day.
New Zealand had reached 150-3 when the powerplay was taken at the end of the 35th over. They seemed to have recovered sufficiently to lay a charge on the Australians in the last 15 and a score of around 300 looked on the cards. All that changed in a matter of a few balls as Faulkner first induced a nick off Taylor the first ball of the powerplay. Corey Anderson was the cleaned up the very next ball, a fast yorker pinging his off stump. When Ronchi was caught off Clarke at first slip off Starc in the next over, the match had turned on its head. New Zealand were now 151-6 and looked down and out.
Grant Elliott tried to take a few risks as he ran out of partners and he was the 8th wicket to fall with the score on 171, he made a superb 83 off just 82 balls. The Kiwi innings ended with a brilliance of flash in the field by Glenn Maxwell who fielded the ball at short mid-wicket and hurled it at the non strikers end to catch Tim Southee short of his ground. New Zealand could only make 183. They had slipped from 150-3 to 183 all out losing their last 7 wickets for just 33 runs.
New Zealand still could make a match out of this as they had the bowlers and an aggressive captain who backed them to a hilt. Boult swung the ball in to Aaron Finch in the second over and he just inside edged it on to his pads which lobbed up for a simple caught and bowled. Australia 2-1. In walked Steven Smith, the man who had made a half century in the quarter final and a century in the semi final and he looked in fine touch once again. David Warner was a bit nervy and edgy but he too was soon hitting the ball right of the middle of his big, heavy bat.
Australia were cruising but Warner pulled one straight down mid-wickets throat off Matt Henry as Australia were 63-2 in the 13th over. That brought their captain to the crease for the final time in yellow cloths for Australia and he looked nervous. Short balls have troubled him lately and McCullum attacked him with plenty of short bowling. He placed ultra attacking fields too; 3 slips, a gully, a short cover and a short point for Clarke. But Clarke battled through and was soon hitting the ball as sweetly as he has ever hit. As the target got within sight Clarke decided to up the ante. He hit Southee for 4 consecutive boundaries in an over and then Smith got to his 5th consecutive fifty in the next over. But Clarke could not witness either Smith’s 50 from the other end neither could he hit the winning runs as he chopped one onto his stumps from the impressive Henry.
He walked off to a rapturous applause from the 93,000 strong fans voicing their support for him. The chase was sealed by Smith as he pulled a short Southee delivery to mid-wicket for a 4. The World Cup had been wrested back from India and Australia had won the World Cup for the 5th time!
All smiles for the Australian team as they lift the World Cup after
beating New Zealand by 7 wickets at the MCG
James Faulkner won the man of the match award for his game changing spell and Mitchell Starc won the man of the series as he ended up as the joint leading wicket taker along with Trent Boult. Both the awards were handed by the master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar. Michael Clarke made a reference to Phil Hughes when he emotionally and with a lump in his throat mentioned, ‘We dedicate this World Cup win to our little brother Phil Hughes’. A big pat on the back to him for that and respect too!!
And so, it ended. The cricket carnival has come to an end with Australia being crowned the World Champions for a staggering 5th time! Congratulations to them!
As for me I will do a few more posts on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 before bringing down curtains on what has been the most prolific period for me and my blog.
PS - The image used is courtesy www.espncricinfo.com