29 March 2015
15 things to look forward to at the #cwc15 final
Australia and New Zealand compete for the ultimate prize. The anticipation is mounting and there's something for everyone
Will Michael Clarke give Australia its fifth World Cup title or will Brendon McCullum take New Zealand to its maiden World Cup glory?
1. The intimidating cauldron that is the MCG
There are few better sights than a full house cheering in anticipation. A sold-out record breaking crowd of over 92,000 spectators will descend on 'The G' when both captains walk out for the toss on Sunday. While Michael Clarke has asked for a sea of yellow and gold to troop in, Brendon McCullum is banking on the neutrals to rally around the Black Caps in addition to several thousand fans expected to cross over for the grand finale.
2. Colour, passion and excitement
Several hotels in Melbourne’s central business district have been sold out. As many as 3000 members of the Beige Brigade, New Zealand's answer to the Barmy Army, have promised new chants on Sunday. Can they match the power of Australia's Fanatics? Either way, one lasting memory from the tournament is going to be the magnificent colour and passion provided by the fans of all 14 sides right across all corners of Australia and New Zealand.
3. Battle of the big hitters
New Zealand has Brendon McCullum, one of the most destructive batsmen in recent times. Martin Guptill, with the highest World Cup score, is in the form of his life. Kane Williamson is Mr Dependable. Ross Taylor has perhaps reserved his best for the last, while Corey Anderson's prowess lower down the order cannot be understated.
Australia has the ammunition to match New Zealand’s might. David Warner hits them as hard as they come. Aaron Finch belongs to the Adam Gilchrist School of Batsmanship. Glenn Maxwell brings a new dimension to the batting, with Michael Clarke and Shane Watson lending valuable experience in the middle order. Everything then points out to a battle between two explosive batting units.
4. Legends' last bow
Michael Clarke has already announced Sunday's final will be his last One-Day International, and will want to emulate Allan Border, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh by becoming the fourth Australian to lift the Cricket World Cup. Daniel Vettori, who is the only active player in ODIs to have made his debut before 2000, is also very likely walk into the sunset. Both of them are legends in their own right and will want to bow out with a World Cup medal. It remains to be seen which of the two will enjoy a fairy-tale ending.
5. The Trans-Tasman Rivalry
Australia and New Zealand pride themselves on being sporting nations. Both countries have enjoyed numerous battles on the rugby field, but cricket’s rivalry is equally storied with Australia enjoying a 6-3 advantage at the Cricket World Cup. It won’t just be the two teams that make the rivalry however with both sets of fans likely to enjoy a keen sense of competitive nature in the stands as well.
New Zealand hasn’t played an ODI in Australia since February 2009. In October last year, McCullum took his troops to the MCG on an acquaintance tour, should they make it to the final. The fact that New Zealand hasn’t played in Australia for long, and that it is coming off winning eight matches in its own backyard, on smaller grounds, might have some bearing on how Sunday’s final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 goes at the massive Melbourne Cricket Ground.
6. Sultans of left-arm Swing
There have been a number of left-arm pacers who have graced the scene at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The ones still standing have gained a reputation for being out-and-out match winners. Mitchell Johnson has already lined himself up for the big occasion with a match-turning performance against India. Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult packed a punch when both sides last met in Auckland. Who will rise to the occasion on Sunday? Irrespective, it promises to be a fascinating exhibition of top-class left arm fast bowling.
7. Battle of two outstanding fielding units
McCullum is a superman on and off the field. Now, add Vettori to that list after his giant leap at third man to dismiss Marlon Samuels. The video went viral on social media minutes after, with over 815,000 views on the ICC Website and the reaction of his teammates was a story in itself. On the other hand, Australia has always been an agile unit, swift movers on the outfield and big buckets in the slip cordon and rocket-like arms, two outstanding run-outs from the Australians had a huge impact against India in the Semi-Final on Thursday. Tomorrow, on one of the biggest outfields in the world, the fielding of both sides could well make the difference.
There have been more sixes at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 than at any other previous edition. The skill level of batsmen has definitely made batting look a lot easier. At the MCG, every ounce of a player’s muscle and power will be tested as they aim to clear big boundaries. The occasion will certainly demand that batsmen step up but who would be arguing against some more unbelievable hitting.
9. Two attacking pro-active captains
The final has brought together arguably the two most attacking captains from the whole tournament. It seems there is no negative bone in Brendon McCullum's body. And he has walked the talk. Whether marshalling his troops on the field, or leading by example with the bat, he’s every inch an inspirational leader capable of bringing out the best in his players. Attack has been his best form of defence. Clarke, Australia’s talisman, is no different. No inch given, no room for complacency, and two leaders who will ensure their sides throw punches and counter-punches until the final blow has been delivered.
10. Innovating broadcast features
The production of the grand finale of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be in the Ultra High-Definition 4k format and audiences will enjoy a unique experience. The match will be covered by at least 29 cameras, including ultramotion cameras, Spidercam and the drone camera. The match will be telecast using cutting-edge technology to bring viewers closer to the game. Several present and past World Cup winners would add to the spectacle from the commentary box.
11. The magic app
The official ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 app, which the ICC launched in partnership with Reliance Communications, has also seen unparalleled success for a cricket app, and just about to reach 4.5 million downloads. It has topped the charts among sports apps downloaded in 48 countries. The app, which is available for free download via the Google Play Store and Apple Store, has received rave reviews with the ICC CWC Match Centre, in-match clips, fixtures, exclusive videos, real-time statistical updates and more, being enjoyed worldwide.
12. The Melbourne Fan Zone
Meet your family and friends at the Official Fan Zone at Birrarung Marr on the banks of the Yarra River, overlooking the Melbourne city skyline and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Fans can watch the match on the big screen, enjoy a bite to eat from some of Melbourne’s favourite food trucks, and try their luck and cricket skills with the exciting activations and cricket challenges throughout the Fan Zone.
The participating teams of the day will be celebrated with national fare, and fans can show their support with face painting. The Fan Zone will feature a grassy Backyard Cricket Zone, with space for groups to bring along a picnic and settle in to watch the matches, as well as a Beach Cricket Zone, which will feature activations and cricket activities for fans of all ages. A stone’s throw away from the action at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the ICC Cricket World Cup Official Fan Zone promises to be a highlight on the 2015 cricket calendar!
13. The Cup that counts
23 years ago, Pakistan’s inspirational skipper, Imran Khan, lifted the cup to bring joy to millions of fans in Pakistan and across the world. Four years ago, on a balmy summer’s night in Mumbai, Mahendra Singh Dhoni launched his signature helicopter stoke to bring World Cup glory after 28 years. Can McCullum replicate the success of the All Blacks and help New Zealand lift its maiden crown or will Clarke emulate Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting?
14. The National Anthems
To watch the emotions that the national anthem triggers in the players is fascinating. Each player walks out onto the field holding hands of a young fan. The teams line up with one child in front of every player, but as the anthem starts out, players from most teams move closer, arms around the shoulder of the one nearest to him or her. Several of the players sing with uninhibited gusto; for others, it is a personal moment before a big game. Emotions will be high and the national anthems reflect the passion, the stakes and the sentiments attached to the game of cricket. Adding to the passion will be the historic nature of a first meeting in a World Cup Final between these closest of neighbours.
15. The first ball
There’s no bigger anticipation than there is before the first ball of the match. The build-up, the chants, the claps as the bowler runs in brings about an adrenaline rush. Sunday will be no different, except there will be a huge roar of over 90,000 people that will ring in the ears of the 22 men who will do battle for cricket’s biggest crown.
Follow every ball of the #cwc15 Final LIVE in the ICC Match Centre by clicking here or Download the ICC Cricket World Cup App by clicking here.