Sunday was a cricketer’s dream and the players will remember this for the rest of their lives! James Faulkner’s magical over and the pace of the two Mitchells – Starc and Johnson – enabled Australia to dismantle the Kiwi batting order for a mere 183. Their names will be etched into history forever. Although they didn’t win, I have really liked the way New Zealand play their cricket. They have played aggressive cricket all the way through. The first ten overs they have been very attacking with the bat. Lead by Brendon McCullum they aim to take down the bowler before he gets going and this has really worked for him and his team. They also have some quality quicks up front – Trent Boult and Tim Southee. The left and right-hand combination is very effective and they have shown that they can both swing the new ball.
I’ve been impressed with the the cool heads of Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Grant Elliott and let’s not forget the hard-hitting of Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi near the end of the innings. To me these are the ingredients for success – having the right people on bus and in the rights seats. New Zealand had more strength in depth than ever before in this event but tonight they couldn’t get it together and perhaps the occasion may have just been too much for them. Elliott was the only one to hold some resistance and played beautifully and freely with form and class. Strength in depth is something we take for granted in Australia with our depth that we have in first class cricket. We have a fantastic squad – look at the players that have missed out! George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Xavier Doherty and Pat Cummins a least were a part of the squad; then you look at Cameron White, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Ashton Agar to name a few who didn’t make the cut.
You always want to be peaking when you get to a World Cup final and Australia were just brilliant. The Starc and McCullum match-up was the key one for me. I knew if McCullum could get through the first 10 overs he would get New Zealand off to a flyer. But Starc was up to it and obviously had a plan to bowl fuller lengths. Once McCullum was out New Zealand were really squeezed by the Aussies and they put them under enormous pressure. They never really recovered and they limped to 183. Johnson and Faulkner were very impressive and I thought it was a good all-round bowling performance. In the run chase Australia lost the early wicket of Aaron Finch, but David Warner was brilliantly aggressive in chasing down a small total. Steve Smith just continued his form as he has done right throughout the summer and looked really good at the crease.
It was captain Michael Clarke’s last ODI match so it was fitting that he should have some sort of influence on this game and his innings was very controlled. For Australia to win their fifth World Cup and for him to play with a touch of class and just reminded us of his talent as a one day player. It has been over two decades since Australia has hosted a World Cup final. This tournament has been the best showcase of cricket in the history of World Cups so I hope we will see the event back here soon.