MELBOURNE: Skipper Michael Clarke scored 74 runs in his last one-day international as Australia decimated New Zealand to win their fifth cricket World Cup by seven wickets in a one-sided final in Melbourne on Sunday.
New Zealand, who defeated Australia by one wicket in the pool phase, were all but out of the match after being dismissed for just 183 following captain Brendon McCullum´s decision to bat first, having won the toss.
The writing was on the wall for New Zealand, appearing in their first World Cup final, when McCullum was bowled for a duck in the first over by impressive left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc.
Australia captain Clarke, playing his last one-day international before he retires from white-ball, but not Test cricket, saw his side to the brink of victory before he was bowled for 74 in his 245th ODI, with the skipper walking off to a standing ovation from a record Melbourne Cricket Ground crowd of 93,013.
Steven Smith, who put on 112 for the third wicket with Clarke, made 56 not out – his fifth successive score of 50 or more this tournament – and hit the winning boundary as Australia finished on 186 for three with a huge 101 balls remaining.
Left-arm pacers decimate Black Caps
Earlier, Australia’s left-arm pace trio wrecked New Zealand’s hopes of posting a competitive score with a dynamic bowling performance.
The Black Caps messed up their maiden appearance in the title clash of cricket’s showpiece event, falling like nine pins after winning the toss on a good batting wicket.
The left-armers captured eight of the 10 wickets with Mitchell Johnson taking three for 30, James Faulkner three for 36 and Mitchell Starc two for 20 to put the skids under the vibrant Black Caps batting line-up as they were dismissed for just 183 with five overs of their innings left.
New Zealand never recovered from the stunning dismissal of skipper and team talisman Brendon McCullum for a three-ball duck in the opening over before a ground record crowd of over 91,000.
MCG crowd record for World Cup final
The match broke the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s previous record attendance for a cricket match of 91,112, according to officials.
The attendance surpassed the biggest cricket crowd at the vast stadium, set during the 2013 Boxing Day Ashes Test against England, and also topped the attendance of 87,182 for the 1992 World Cup final at the MCG between Pakistan and England.