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Home » Sport » Cricket

Australia win World Cup

Michael Clarke hit 74 in his final ODI for Australia, helping his side win the World Cup for a fifth time, with a convincing seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the final in Melbourne. 

In contrast, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was dismissed for a third-ball duck as the Black Caps crumbled to 183 all out inside 45 overs.

Australia's trio of left-arm quicks did the damage with Mitchell Johnson (3-30), James Faulkner (3-36), and Mitchell Starc (2-20) blasting out batsmen in front of a record 93,013 crowd at the MCG.

Grant Elliott followed up his match-winning knock in the semi-final with 83, but from 150-3 at the start of the 36th over, New Zealand collapsed dramatically.

Trent Boult (1-40) picked up Aaron Finch for a duck in the second over of Australia's reply but a classic cameo from David Warner (45 off 46 balls) and a 112-run partnership between Clarke and his likely heir to the captaincy, Steve Smith (56no), saw Australia win with 16.5 overs to spare, sparking jubilant scenes.

In an incredible opening to the contest, Starc bowled McCullum with an inswinging yorker with the fifth ball of the match, after the Black Caps captain had won the toss and chosen to bat first.

The wicket of McCullum - having so often got his side to a flier on their unbeaten run through to the final - gave Australia the early advantage and they further capitalised with Glenn Maxwell and Johnson picking up two wickets in two overs.

Maxwell bowled Martin Guptill for 15 before Johnson had  Kane Williamson caught and bowled in the 13th over to reduce New Zealand to 39-3.

Elliott almost fell for 15 after being given out lbw to Maxwell but correctly reviewed the decision, with the ball shown to be sliding down the legside by some distance.

The slice of luck inspired Elliott to tonk 35 from his next 31 balls, with three fours and a six, as he went through to fifty and wrestled back some of the momentum back from Australia.

Ross Taylor was more circumspect at the other end with 40 from 72 balls in a 111-run partnership with Elliott that had New Zealand targeting a score of 250 plus.

But just as the powerplay was enforced and perhaps with Taylor looking to put the foot on the pedal a bit more, he fell first ball to James Faulkner, edging a wide one to Brad Haddin behind the stumps, who took a great catch low to his right.

It was to be a double-strike for Faulkner, as he beat Corey Anderson all ends up two balls later, the allrounder falling to another ferocious yorker.

Luke Ronchi also fell for a duck, edging Johnson to Clarke at slip the next over as three wickets feel for one run and suddenly the Black Caps were deep in trouble at 151-6.

Daniel Vettori and Elliott negotiated the rest of the powerplay before Vettori was bowled by Johnson in the 41st, and then Elliott finally departed five balls later, top-edging a Faulkner slower ball to Haddin.

Tim Southee smashed a straight six off the first ball he faced but it was only some brief respite, as Johnson picked up his third with Matt Henry finding Starc at cover-point and then some terrific work from Maxwell in the field running out Southee to end the innings.

New Zealand had the perfect riposte with the ball, Boult accounting for Finch with his trademark inswinger to the right-hander, who looped a return catch back to the bowler.

It didn’t bother David Warner at the other end, as he crunched 45 off 46 balls, including three consecutive fours off Southee (0-65) in the fifth over to kick-start the counter-attack, although he was fortunate to see one fly wide of Taylor at first slip, with McCullum having just moved second slip out.

When Warner did fall – sending a top edge to Elliott, gifting Henry (2-42) his first World Cup wicket – Australia had 63 on the board in the 13th over and New Zealand were already chasing their tails.

Henry continued valiantly and was unlucky not to add to his tally with Steve Smith deflecting one on to his stumps only for the bails not to dislodge, but that was one of few scares for the Aussies.

The New Zealand attack was hampered by an injury to Vettori (0-25), who went gingerly through five wicketless overs, in his final ODI appearance.

He seemingly picked up a niggle when racing in to celebrate with Boult after the opening wicket but that was as good as it got for the Kiwis.

Clarke and Smith’s partnership saw Australia through to the close, with Clarke in particularly bullish mood, smacking four straight fours to do more damage to Southee’s figures, after passing fifty.

He departed the next over, chopping Henry onto the stumps – with the bails dropping this time – and although disappointed not to be there at the end, was able to savour the applause from the MCG crowd as he left the field in emotional scenes.

Smith passed fifty four balls later and then hit the winning runs as Australia regained the World Cup.

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