And just like that, the 2015 Cricket World Cup is in the books. An unbelievable bowling performance from Australia sealed an easy victory over New Zealand inside a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Although, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first, from the first ball of the day the result never looked much in doubt for Australia. Brendon McCullum’s aggressive batting at the the top of the order has propelled the Black Caps at times this tournament, particularly in their semi-final win over South Africa. Yesterday however, McCullum was simply too risky against an excellent Mitchell Starc. On the fifth ball of the match, Starc bowled McCullum off stump for a duck and New Zealand were sitting 1-1. Martin Guptill was bowled out by Glenn Maxwell leaving the visitors at 33-2 after 11.2 overs, while less than an over later, Mitchell Johnson bowled and caught Kane Williamson. 35 overs in, Ross Taylor was bowled by James Faulkner and caught by the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin leaving the visitors 150-4 and in a world of trouble. The floodgates opened then for Australia’s bowlers, dismissing Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi for ducks. The Kiwis were 167-6 when Mitchell Johnson bowled Daniel Vettori, the veteran Black Cap was out for a measly 9. Matt Henry was gone for a duck and shortly thereafter Tim Southee was brilliantly run out after 45 overs with New Zealand putting up a paltry 183 in their inning.
Removing the Taylor and Elliot partnership from the New Zealand scorecard and the Black Caps made just 72 runs as a team. New Zealand will surely been upset by that figure in the days to come but the story was the bowling prowess of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, and Faulkner, who combined to take eight of New Zealand’s wickets.
New Zealand were optimistic when they began with a maiden over from Tim Southee followed by Trent Boult bowling and catching Aaron Finch ten balls into Australia’s inning. The good start for New Zealand’s bowlers would not last as Australia slowly chipped away at New Zealand’s total of 183. Needing only 27 from 20 overs, Australia was in cruise control. The home side sealed their fifth World Cup title when Steve Smith, already having passed the half-century mark, knocked in the final two runs in front of 93,000 fans at the MCG.
It caps off an emotional few months for Australia with the passing of Phillip Hughes in November to last night’s victory. This is a special group of players and a phenomenal bowling attack. Michael Clarke’s retirement will certainly hurt, but don’t expect much of a drop off in form in the coming months. The number one ranked ODI side entering the tournament in February looked even stronger last night and will seek to continue this form when they take on England in their first ODI of the Ashes Tour on September 3rd.