With an all-round performance that matched the occasion, Australia outclassed neighbours New Zealand to win cricket’s World Cup for the fifth time here on Sunday.
When New Zealand were dismissed for a sorry 183 after electing to bat first, some Indians in the crowd tried to cheer up the Kiwi fans, reminding them of how India had successfully defended an identical total against the mighty West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final.
This, even the New Zealanders knew, was highly wishful thinking as a dominant Australia cantered to a seven-wicket victory, posting 186 for three in 33.1 overs at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
New Zealand’s strategy of putting Australia under scoreboard pressure by posting a big total came unstuck and Michael Clarke couldn’t have scripted a better finish to his ODI career. The right-hander, for whom this was the last one-dayer, raced to a 72-ball 74 (10×4, 1×6) that helped Australia make short work of their modest target.