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Smith, Clarke star as Australia wins Cricket World Cup

The Roar logo The Roar 29-03-2015

Australia has won the 2015 Cricket World Cup, defeating New Zealand in the final by 7 wickets

Australian captain Michael Clarke has scored a crucial half century as Australia chased down New Zealand’s first innings total of 183 in the 34th over.

The match will be Clarke’s final one day international of his career, and is a fitting send off for a man with such an admirable record in one day cricket.

Australia’s chase looked in doubt early, with Trent Boult snagging the wicket of Aaron Finch early. At 1/2, Australia counterattacked through David Warner, who made a quickfire 45.

His demise brought Clarke to the crease to join Steve Smith, and together they set about assuring victory. Smith played in the mould he has all summer, looking comfortable throughout his innings even though he walked to the crease at 1/2.

Clarke had some nervous moments early in his innings, with New Zealand bowlers targeting him and Brendon McCullum setting aggressive fields.

Clarke was out for 72, while Smith capped off his tournament with an unbeaten half century.

It wasn’t to be on the day for the Black Caps, who had been so impressive all tournament.

Australian players celebrate after they defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne, Australia. Photos: Australia v New Zealand Cricket World Cup final

Their problems began in the very first over, when McCullum, trying to get his side off to another fast start after he chose to bat first, was skittled by Mitchell Starc.

The New Zealanders were rattled early, and their batting never fully recovered.

Mitchell Johnson jagged the vital wicket of Kane Williamson after Glenn Maxwell snuck one past the outside edge of the in-form Martin Guptill.

A good partnership between Ross Taylor and semi-final hero Grant Elliott saw the Kiwis to 3/150, but losing 7/33 thanks to some good bowling from Johnson and Faulkner saw them post an under par total.

Mitchell Johnson had the figures of 3/30, while Starc had 2/20 and Faulkner 3/36.

The New Zealand innings was summed up by the last-wicket runout, with Tim Southee caught short of his ground by a clever piece of fielding from Glenn Maxwell.

Michael Clarke waves his bat after scoring 50 runs while batting against New Zealand during the Cricket World Cup final. © AP Photo/Rick Rycroft Michael Clarke waves his bat after scoring 50 runs while batting against New Zealand during the Cricket World Cup final.

Despite the relatively early departure of Finch and Warner for Australia, and Clarke’s early battles, Australia looked comfortable in tracking down the total.

Clarke nearly iced the match with a flurry of boundaries, ensuring it was a stylish send-off from limited overs cricket. It was spoiled somewhat when he chopped New Zealand quick Henry onto his stumps for 74 from 72 balls.

The win will be Clarke’s final ODI match, and could also be New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori’s ODI swansong.

It is Australia’s fifth Cricket World Cup victory, and they sit well ahead of India and the West Indies who each have two.

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