Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Australia win World Cup final at MCG

ONE-SIDED:The Aussies emphatic seven-wicket victory was set up by fast-bowling trio Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson, who shared eight wickets

AFP, MELBOURNE, Australia

Australia’s Steve Smith, left, and Shane Watson celebrate as their side defeats New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Michael Clarke hit 74 in his last one-day international to lead Australia to their fifth World Cup title with a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in a disappointing final yesterday.

A record crowd of 93,013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) saw power-packed Australia bowl out the Black Caps for 183 and then gallop to victory in the 34th over.

Clarke, who announced his retirement from the one-day format on the eve of the final, added 112 runs for the third wicket with his likely successor, Steve Smith, who returned unbeaten on 56.

“I’m sure everybody standing on this stage will say we played this World Cup with 16 players,” Clarke said in reference to close friend and former teammate Phillip Hughes who died in November last year after being hit on the head by a bouncer in a first-class match in Sydney. “This victory is dedicated to our little brother Phillip Hughes.”

The emphatic win was set up by the left-arm fast bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson, who shared eight wickets after the Black Caps elected to bat on a good pitch.

New Zealand messed up their maiden appearance in the title clash of cricket’s showpiece event, falling like nine pins against the hostile Australia bowling.

Inspirational captain Brendon McCullum fell off the fifth ball of the innings for a duck and two other frontline batsmen, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi, also failed to score.

South Africa-born Grant Elliott top-scored with 83, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 111 with Ross Taylor (40) after New Zealand had been reduced to 39-3 in the 13th over.

The massive crowd, which broke the MCG record of 91,112 on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test against England in 2013, saw New Zealand lose their last seven wickets for 33 runs.

“We played some outstanding cricket in the tournament, but we ran into an outstanding Australia team tonight, who continue to set the way in world cricket. Michael Clarke deserves to bow out as world champion,” McCullum said.

New Zealand crumbled after going into the final as the only unbeaten team in the 14-nation tournament, their eight wins including a one-wicket success over Australia in a low-scoring pool-stage thriller.

Australia’s previous titles came in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007, with coach Darren Lehmann, a two-time World Cup winner as a player, celebrating another success off the field.

New Zealand raised hopes of repeating their amazing win in the pool when they removed Aaron Finch for a duck in the second over, Trent Boult taking an easy return catch as the ball lobbed off the batsman’s bat and pad.

Left-hander David Warner slammed seven fours in his 45 off 46 balls, adding 61 for the second wicket with Smith, but the pugnacious opener was unable to build on his fine start as he pulled seamer Matt Henry down Elliott’s throat at deep square-leg.

Smith, who scored a century in the semi-final against India in Sydney on Thursday last week, continued his good form to help Clarke take charge of the match.

Clarke was bowled by Henry when just nine runs remained for victory and was given a standing ovation by his teammates and the fans as he returned with his bat raised.

Smith sealed the victory by pulling Henry for a boundary, sparking jubilant scenes in the stands as Clarke and the rest of the team ran on to the field to embrace Smith.

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