Australians are the new champions of the ICC World Cup 2015. They crushed New Zealand by 7 wickets to claim the country’s fifth world title and gave a fitting farewell to the retiring skipper – Michael Clarke. Played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on 29th March, 2015, Australians wrapped the match up in the 34th over itself. After winning the toss, the Black Caps decided to bat first and put up a modest total of just 183, which Australia managed to chase comfortably. In the 10 ICC World Cups played so far, 5 different teams have won the tournament, but Australia is the most successful cricket team to have won the World Cup for the fifth time. The enthralled rugby-mad nation was looking forward to win the trophy this time, after it has eluded them in the event’s 40-year old history.
A brilliant innings from the retiring skipper Michael Clarke (74) and ably supported by Steven Smith (56 not out) saw them through. In a tournament that was littered with explosive innings and monstrous totals, the performance of the Australian cricket team was not impressive enough. They managed to take the second position in Pool A. They defeated Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals and India in the semi-finals to book their berth in the finals.
The Kiwis, on the other hand, won all their league matches and defeated West Indies in the quarterfinals and South Africa to reach the finals. The Kiwis reached the finals for the first time in cricketing history and it was a huge feat for them. They have succumbed six times in the semis. Under Brendan McCullum’s captaincy, the team displayed some fabulous performances with the bat and ball. Even though they could not take the trophy home, Brendan McCullum’s fastest 50 off 18 balls against England and Martin Guptill’s scintillating record-breaking double century against West Indies will be remembered by all cricketing fans.
Australia’s bowlers ripped through the Kiwis’ batting line-up. Right from the start of the match, they dominated and didn’t allow dangerman Brendon, Martin or Kane Williamson to survive for too long at the crease. Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott managed to build a partnership, restore their fortunes and put some runs on the board before James Faulkner got into action and sent Ross Taylor to the dressing room. Their woes deepened when Corey Anderson got out for a duck, followed by Luke Ronchi. Runs trickled against the hostile but accurate pace attack of Mitchell Starc who was ably supported by pacemen Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner. Johnson and Faulkner picked up three wickets each.
The Aussies began their run chase inauspiciously when Aaron Finch was the first batsmen to get out, providing an early breakthrough for the Kiwi bowlers. David Warner looked aggressive and was all set to score his half century when he was holed out by Elliott at deep-mid wicket. Michael Clarke and his heir apparent Steve Smith freed their arms and managed to take Aussie home when Clarke fell. Michael Clarke was given a standing ovation for scoring his 58th and final one-day fifty and when he entered the arena. With not much runs to chase, Smith and Shane Watson scored the remaining runs required and took Aussies to their fifth victory at the World Cup.
James Faulkner was awarded the ‘Player of the Match’. Mitchell Starc was named the ‘Player of the Series’. Both were presented by cricketing maestro Sachin Tendulkar at the closing ceremony of the World Cup.
Congratulations to the Australia cricket team for their outstanding performance and their win!