For the fifth time, Australia emerged as champion in the Cricket World Cup, crashing New Zealand by seven wickets in the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
Retiring captain Michael Clarke guided cricketing superpower Australia in the finals, playing a key role with a 74-run knock in his final ODI appearance.
Clarke (74 from 72) was the standout batsmen for the home side as the world No.1 easily accounted for New Zealand’s modest 183 with 101 balls to spare to confirm itself as king of the one-day format.
Clarke got the needed support from Steve Smith, who hit the winning runs with a pulled shot to the square-leg boundary before leaping into the arms of non-striker Shane Watson.
Smith is Australia’s leading run-scorer for the tournament with 402.
New Zealand, playing its first Word Cup final, struggled to contend with the firing Australian pace attack, with a devastating spell by the player of the match, James Faulkner.
A collective display of disciplined bowling from the Australian bowlers helped them restrict a nervous New Zealand to a paltry 183 in 45 overs after Brendon McCullum opted to bat.
A mid-innings collapse which saw New Zealand lose their last seven wickets for only 33 runs in 10 overs effectively ended their hopes of putting up a respectable total despite semifinal hero Grant Elliott’s gutsy innings of 83 off 82 balls.
Australia was World Cup champion in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007.
[Feature photo credit: “Prudential Cup” by Mskadu – http://flickr.com/photos/mskadu/62973719/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]