Melbourne: On either side of a 111-run partnership between Grant Elliott and Ross Taylor for the 4th wicket, Australian pacers put the kibosh on the New Zealand batsmen, swiftly setting their way to a fifth World Cup Trophy in front of a record-setting crowd of 93,013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia’s pacer James Faulkner (centre) celebrates dismissing NZ’s Grant Elliott much to his dislike yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Prior to the game, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum had indicated that his side would continue to play the aggressive brand of cricket that has brought them a spot in their first final. He was sure that even though it will not guarantee success but thought that it gave his team “the best chance to win against big teams” like Australia.
He was proven right on the aspect of aggressive cricket not guaranteeing success. Australian quicks, led by Player of the Final James Faulkner and Player of the Tournament Mitchell Starc, blew the Blackcaps away in impressive individual three-fors. Starc set the ball rolling by swinging the ball at high speed and castling McCullum in the opening over of the final. A rejuvenated Mitchell Johnson kept the class of Kane Williamson quiet with a spell of deadly accuracy and threatening speeds, and consistently having the batsman groping for the ball. Johnson saw the back of Williamson by defeating the batsman in the air and off the pitch, and gleefully accepting the return catch.
Elliott and Taylor patiently denied the Aussie speedsters for 23 overs, stitching a century partnership, raising New Zealand's hopes in the final. That was when the batting powerplay began and the irresistible Aussie firepower broke the game wide open.
With the first delivery of the powerplay, Faulkner deceived Taylor with a slow, wide yorker and followed up with a pacy delivery that beat the impactful Corey Anderson. Starc returned to have Luke Ronchi edging to slips and Faulkner drove the final nail in the coffin by removing the game's topscorer Elliot caught behind.
In a seven wicket free fall, for just 33 runs in 10 overs, New Zealand's hopes evaporated as they were bundled out for 183 runs. Johnson, Starc, and Faulkner shared 8 wickets between themselves in 26 overs of attacking show of pace bowling. Australia's fast bowling resources had them billed as the pre-tournament favorites. The variety in bowling actions and diversity in skills, all combining to form a potent attack as good as any in the past, proved to be too much for the Kiwis on a glorious day in Melbourne.