MELBOURNE, Australia, Monday March 30, 2015, CMC – Australia crushed New Zealand by seven wickets to claim their fifth ICC Cricket World Cup, in a hugely lopsided affair at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that had been hyped as blockbuster.
Opting to bat first, the Black Caps slumped to 39 for three in the 13th over and despite a brief recovery, could only muster a disappointing 183 all out off 45 overs.
Middle order batsman Grant Elliott top scored with 82 off 83 deliveries and Ross Taylor got 40 from 72 balls but they were the only batsmen to pass 15 as the much vaunted Kiwi batting juggernaut faltered badly.
Left-armer Mitchell Johnson (3-30) and fellow seamer James Faulkner (3-36) both finished with three wickets apiece while another left-armer, Mitchell Starc, claimed two for 20, to pick up the Man-of-the-Series honours.
Left with a paltry target to chase in front their home crowd, the Aussies made light work of the task, cruising to victory in the 34th over behind half-centuries from captain Michael Clarke and the in-form Steve Smith.
Clarke hit a top score of 74 from 72 balls while Smith was unbeaten on 56 from 71 deliveries, building on opener David Warner’s earlier 45 from 46 deliveries.
Seamer Matt Henry was the best New Zealand bowler with two for 46.
Australia set the tone for victory from early, removing talisman and captain Brendon McCullum without scoring with the fifth ball of the match, undone by a full length delivery from Starc which rattled his stumps.
Opener Martin Guptill (12) and Kane Williamson (12) followed cheaply leaving Elliott and Taylor with the task of repairing the innings in a 111-run fourth wicket partnership.
Elliott struck seven fours and a six and Taylor two boundaries, and had provided the platform for a late innings acceleration when things fell apart.
Taylor fell to a catch at the wicket off Faulkner and two balls later in the same over, the dangerous Corey Anderson was bowled without scoring. Their dismissal sparked a slide that saw the last seven wickets perish for a mere 33 runs.
Left-arm seamer Trent Boult then raised New Zealand’s hopes, albeit briefly, of a come-from-behind victory when he removed Aaron Finch without scoring to leave Australia on two runs for one wicket in the second over.
However, Warner and Smith put on 61 for the second wicket before Clarke joined Smith to add a further 112 for the third wicket, to erase any thoughts of an upset.