Melbourne, With the help of superb all round display, Australia on Sunday defeated New Zealand by 7 wickets to win their fifth ICC Cricket World Cup title at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here. Chasing 184 runs to win, Australia achieved the target in the 34th over of their innings with seven wickets still in hand. Michael Clarke, who retires from One-Day International (ODI) cricket on Sunday, played the captain’s innings, top scoring for his team with 74 while Steven Smith hit 56 not out. Fast bowler Matt Henry took two wickets for New Zealand.
The moment Steve Smith (56) hit the winning runs, the entire Australian team was out in the ground delirious in joy celebrating the very special achievement.
All performers yearn for a stage as grand as the World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Clarke got his walking out as a hero with the entire MCG giving him a standing ovation once he was dismissed after getting his team to the doorstep of victory.
It was a touching sight to find all his teammates standing at the boundary line to greet him. Clarke added 112 runs in the company of his deputy Smith (56) and it looked as if the skipper was passing on the team’s baton to his heir apparent.Having announced his retirement from ODIs a day before the finals, it was a free-spirited Clarke in action. The drives flowed from his bat, the footwork was as immaculate as ever and so was the manner in which he charged out to the spinners. Each and every shot was greeted with thunderous applause by the capacity crowd.
There were 10 fours and two sixes in his final ODI innings. Clarke had the Herculean job of checking his emotions and carrying on with the business of guiding his team to victory after losing openers Aaron Finch (0) and David Warner (45). And the skipper was up for it with. Earlier, a collective display of disciplined bowling from the Australian bowlers helped them restrict a nervous New Zealand to a paltry 183 in 45 overs after Brendon McCullum opted to bat.
A mid-innings collapse which saw New Zealand lose their last seven wickets for only 33 runs in 10 overs effectively ended their hopes of putting up a respectable total despite semi-final hero Grant Elliott’s gutsy innings of 83 off 82 balls.(Source- www.newsroompost.com)