Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand will battle it out for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup trophy at Melbourne on Sunday. As a build up to the mega clash, here’s a compilation of some interesting facts pertaining to the match.
This will be the second consecutive World Cup which will feature co-hosts as the finalists. India and Sri Lanka battled it out for the coveted trophy in 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
This will be the first World Cup final since 1987 which will feature two non-Asian sides. The 1987 final was played between England and Australia. Between 1992 and 2011, at least one Asian side has featured in the World Cup final, with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India winning it once each.
An aerial view of MCG. Pic/ AFP
When Melbourne hosts the final on March 29, it will become the second venue to have hosted two or more World Cup finals. Lord’s has hosted the final on most occasions (four times) – 1975, 1979, 1983, and 1999. Melbourne had hosted the final in 1992. Eden Gardens, Kolkata (1987), Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore (1999), Wanderers, Johannesburg (2003), Kensington Oval, Barbados (2007) and Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (2011) are other venues to have hosted the showpiece clash once each.
Daniel Vettori during his younger days (left), and (right) preparing for the 2015 World Cup final. Pic/ AFP
Of all the players who will be featuring in the World Cup final, New Zealand veteran Daniel Vettori is the only one to have made his international debut back in the 1990s. The left-arm spinner made his one-day debut as an 18-year-old in March 1997.
While Australia have four World Cups in their kitty, they haven’t lifted the trophy at home yet as they had a dismal campaign back in 1992. In fact, India are the only team to have won the World Cup at home. While Sri Lanka co-hosted the 1996 edition, they lifted the trophy at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Michael Clarke and Shane Watson in action during the 2007 World Cup. Pic/ AFP
From the current Australian squad, Shane Watson and skipper Michael Clarke are the only ones to have tasted World Cup glory. They were part of the 2007 World Cup, which Australia went on to win.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill needs 10 runs to go past Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 541 to runs in the 2015 World Cup, and finish as the tournament highest run-getter. He will go into the final with 532 runs from 8 games.
Trent Boult needs five wickets and Mitchell Starc six to equal Glenn McGrath’s record of most wickets in a World Cup. McGrath claimed 26 wickets in the 2007 edition. Boult has so far picked 21 and while Starc has claimed 20.
For the first time since 1996, the summit clash will feature a first-time finalist. New Zealand will be playing in the World Cup final for the first time after having been defeated in the semi-finals on six previous occasions. In 1996, Sri Lanka made the World Cup final for the first time, and ended up winning it! Every subsequent edition featured teams who had made it to the final before.
New Zealand go into the World Cup final at Melbourne undefeated, but they have played all their previous matches in the tournament at home.