Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Australia thump New Zealand en route to 5th World Cup title
March 29, 2015 - Australia were already the most successful ODI team, having won World Cups in India in 1987, in England in 1999, in South Africa in 2003 and in West Indies in 2007, but none would have been more gratifying than their first World Cup triumph on home soil.
Australia had been right on the money in the 2015 ODI World Cup with wins in all the games except a narrow one-run defeat against New Zealand. The team had gone on to beat Pakistan and India in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively. It was a bizarre con-incidence that the only team that had managed to get the better of the hosts, only just, was set to face them in the final.
New Zealand 183/10 (44.6 Ov) RR: 4.07
Australia 186/3 (33.1 Ov) RR: 5.61
Result – Australia won by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: James Faulkner (Australia)
Right from ball one, all went according to plan for Australia. New Zealand's captain, Brendon McCullum had been in formidable nick in the tournament. He completed his fifty in just 18 balls against England in Wellington to register the fastest fifty in World Cups. The Kiwi skipper was coming off a 59-run knock in the semi-final against South Africa that took only 26 balls and was played at an unbelievable strike rate of 226.92.
Playing his last CWC game, McCullum's stumps were rattled by Mitchell Starc, the Man of the Tournament, for a duck in the first over. Ross Taylor (40) and Grant Elliott (83) scored over 67 per cent of New Zealand’s runs between them, but in the absence of any support from others, they were bowled out for 183 in 45 overs.
The man responsible for the collapse, James Faulkner who was named the Player of the Match for his figures of 9-36-3, remembers that there were some nerves after Aaron Finch was dismissed for nought but eased out as Michael Clarke found his groove.
"When Finchy got out, it sent a little bit of shockwave through the group. 'Is this like Auckland again?' But once Pup (Michael Clarke) got going, we ended up doing it easily. Winning the World Cup was 10 times better than winning Player of the Match. When we received the trophy and Pup lifted it up on stage: unreal, awesome. The walk around the ground as well, seeing friends and family, I was seeing people who'd bought tickets I hadn't seen for years, it was surreal."
It was fitting, that on his final ever ODI appearance, Australian captain Michael Clarke top-scored for his side, hitting 74 from 72 balls – including 10 fours and a six – before receiving a standing ovation from all sides of the MCG, as he led his side to victory.
What would have only added to the auspiciousness of the occasion was that Clarke's boys lifted their fifth ODI World Cup title in front of a record crowd of over 93,000, and that too in commanding fashion as they registered a seven-wicket win with 16.5 overs remaining.
Steve Smith was the top-scorer for the Australians in the tournament with 402 runs from 7 innings at 67.00. Just below him was David Warner with 345 runs at 49.29 and a strike rate of 120.21. As skipper Clarke hung his ODI boots after the World Cup win, the two would go on to assume leadership roles.
The 2015 World Cup may not have been Australia's most clinical tournament, but the fact that even when not at their best, they were better than the rest, would have been a unique experience for the hosts.
Before 2011, no home team had ever won the ODI World Cup. After Australia's win in 2015, the home team had won back to back World Cups; the hat-trick would be completed four years later.
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