A super Sunday, Melbourne Cricket Ground and a full house of 93,000 spectators. The stage was set for the final of the Cricket World Cup, the most coveted title of the game.
The two hosts were up against each other, face-to-face in this dream final.
Clarke flipped the coin, McCullum called, and won the all-important toss. He put his side in to bat.
As play began, McCullum lasted three deliveries, till Starc took his stump. Wickets kept falling till Taylor and Elliott established a stand and stabled things to an extent. Just as New Zealand were beginning to gather momentum, Faulkner dismissed Taylor, and from here on it all went downhill. The Black Caps were all out for 183 in 45 overs.
183 was never going to be enough. Or could it have been? Well India in the 1983 World Cup defended 183 to claim the championship. But times have changed, fields have changed and the game has changed and today, in a World Cup Final, 183 was never going to be enough. And it wasn’t.
Warner got the Australian innings off to a steady start. The New Zealand bowlers couldn’t do much and the match was done and dusted in just over 33 overs. Just like Dhoni had, four years ago in 2011, Clarke stepped up to the task and saw his side home. Smith hit the winning runs, and with that, Australia had won the ICC Cricket World Cup for the 5th time!
Play it again on another day and the result could have been different, but today Australia was better and that too by a huge margin.
There was an array of emotions over the field and on every face in the stands. There were tears all around, but those tears had been evoked due to different emotions in different people. The Kiwis crushed, and the Aussies on top of the world.
In the post-match presentation, Brendon McCullum said, “We are the second best team. We have no regrets and we walk away from here with our heads held high.”
And why not. Although their unbeaten streak came to an unfortunate end, they have been absolutely spectacular this World Cup and have undoubtedly gotten rid of the “underachievers” tag.
James Faulkner was named the Man of the Match for his timely break through.
Sachin Tendulkar, brand ambassador of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, presented the Man of the Tournament trophy to Mitchell Starc for his consistently good bowling performance throughout the tournament.
As we heard Michael Clarke for the last time as Australian ODI skipper, he pointed to the black band around his arm and said, “We played this World Cup with 16 players and this is dedicated to Phil Hughes.
Along with Clarke, we also bid farewell to Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Brendan Taylor who have announced their retirement from this form of the game.
As we wrap this up, let’s quickly have a look at the top performers of the World Cup.
Top Run Scorers:
- Martin Guptill, New Zealand
- Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka
- AB de Villiers, South Africa
- Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe
- Shikhar Dhawan, India
Top Wicket Takers:
- Mitchell Starc, Australia
- Trent Boult, New Zealand
- Umesh Yadav, India
- Morne Morkel, South Africa
- Mohammed Shami, India
As the Australian team was handed the trophy, champagne bottles and confetti found their way to the ground and fireworks lit up the Melbourne sky.
That’s it from Down Under then. We meet again: England 2019.