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30 March 201508:05

The Six Moments that sealed the World Cup for Australia

A look at the key moments that handed Australia a fifth World Cup trophy

The Six Moments that sealed the World Cup for Australia - Cricket News

Team Australia takes a lap of honour.

It was the battle of trans-Tasman neighbours, the show down between a four-time tournament winner and a team playing in its maiden final.

Many – including the more than 93,000 fans crammed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground - had hoped for a repeat of the classic between New Zealand and Australia played out in Auckland just one month earlier.

Ultimately it was not to be, as the world’s top-ranked ODI team romped to a seven-wicket victory.

Here are the key moments that handed Australia a fifth World Cup trophy:

1. McCullum’s early fall

Having won the coin toss and elected to head out to the crease, there was always going to be a lot riding on the innings the Black Caps captain could put together.

Fans of all allegiances at the MCG were eager to see Brendon McCullum in action, in the flesh, after watching his antics from afar throughout the tournament.

The enormous crowd clapped Mitchell Starc down into the first delivery of the match to Martin Guptill and after the opener took a single off the second ball of the match, the fans had their first look at McCullum.

True to form, the skipper continued his aggressive approach, playing and missing the first delivery as the ball came perilously close to his off-stump.

McCullum continued his tactics next ball, charging at a delivery that also failed to find any part of his bat.

Then, as Starc sent down a yorker for his third delivery, McCullum's bat came down late and his off peg was rattled.

Australia had the perfect start it desired and McCullum, who leads his team from the front and often sets the tone for his XI, was back in the sheds without scoring.

It immediately placed more pressure on the Black Caps batsmen and slowed the run-rate to a pace unrecognisable to those familiar with New Zealand’s batting this tournament.

2. Elliot’s chance

In the 20th over with New Zealand rebuilding after the losses of McCullum, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, another wicket would have been disastrous.

Little wonder Black Caps fans around the MCG had their heads in their hands then when Elliot looked to sweep a delivery and missed the sharply turning ball.

After what seemed an eternity of Australia appealing, the umpire raised his finger and New Zealand was 66-4.

Elliot sent it straight upstairs and while the review seemed to be one made from hope rather than certainty, it was a brilliant move as the ball-tracker revealed the ball was missing leg stump.

The Kiwi fans roared and Elliot looked more relaxed for the chance, adopting a positive approach and putting together a crucial innings of 83.

3. Australia’s powerful play

New Zealand was 150-3 heading into the batting power play with two established batsmen in Elliot and Ross Taylor at the crease.
The time was ripe to let loose, but that all changed in an instant. The first ball of the power play saw Taylor look to squeeze a full delivery from James Faulkner but only managing to clip the ball behind to Haddin, who took a brilliant low catch.

The umpires had to send it upstairs to confirm the catch but when the verdict came through – out – the Australian fans rose as one.
Then, two balls later, a full in-swinging delivery outsmarted Anderson and the deflected on to off stump, handing Faulkner a game-changing wicket maiden that ultimately saw him named player of the match.

In a matter of three deliveries the game had completely swung in Australia’s favour.

Then, one over later, Luke Ronchi was unable to get his feet moving and sent Michael Clarke a comfortable catch. In the space of eight balls, New Zealand had gone from 150-3 to 151-6.

Ultimately, the power play yielded 15 runs and three wickets and moved Australia significantly closer to grasping the World Cup trophy.

4. Elliot’s dismissal

Grant Elliot was the lone true highlight from the New Zealand innings. Just days after his heroics in Auckland that sent the Black Caps into the final, he produced a hard-earned and positive 83.

He was the man standing between Australia and an easily attainable total and when he was removed in the 4nd over, again courtesy of player-of-the-match Faulkner, New Zealand was in deep trouble at 171-8.

It capped off a spell from Faulkner which showed exactly why he earned the nickname “The Finisher".

5. Black Caps strike

If New Zealand hoped to repeat the low-scoring thriller between the teams which took place in Auckland, it needed to take wickets, fast.

Needless to say, the Black Caps achieved the perfect start when Finch handed Trent Boult a simple caught-and-bowled chance in the second over and departed for a four-ball duck.

The kiwi fans roared, while Australia was 2-1, the spirits of the home crowd were dampened and New Zealand had a sniff.

6. Smith joins Joyce and Misbah

Steve Smith has been the form man of Australia’s summer, scoring runs at will.

He was the prize scalp the Black Caps were seeking and they came agonisingly close to snaring his wicket in the 15th over when the ball spun back between Smith’s legs and hit the stumps – but failing to dislodge the bails.

Australia was 69-2 at the time and had the stumps been hit with enough force to dislodge the bails, the whole game could have turned.
As it was, Smith survived a very close shave – similar to Ireland’s Ed Joyce and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq earlier in the tournament – and went on to finish unbeaten on 56 and guide Australia to a seven-wicket victory and a fifth World Cup.