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Australia turn tables on New Zealand in World Cup final


Australia turn tables on New Zealand in World Cup final

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Michael Clarke raised his bat to acknowledge the massive crowd, and nodded to a fallen teammate he credited for inspiring Australia’s run to a fifth Cricket World Cup title that culminated with an emphatic win over New Zealand.

Clarke scored 74 and shared a 112-run partnership with Steve Smith (56 not out) as the skipper and the likely future captain spearheaded Australia to the winning target of 184 in the 34th over at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

It didn’t end absolutely perfectly for Clarke, who also played in the winning team in 2007, when he was bowled by Matt Henry nine runs short of the target in his 245th and last One-Day International. But it was close enough. Smith hit the winning runs as Australia reached 186 for three, for a seven-wicket victory.

Australia’s left-arm pacemen did the damage early, with Mitchell Starc (2-20), Mitchell Johnson (3-30) and James Faulkner (3-36) combining to dismiss previously unbeaten tournament co-host New Zealand for 183 in 45 overs.

After slipping to 39 for three in the 13th over, New Zealand recovered in a 111-run stand between Grant Elliott (83) and Ross Taylor (40) before Faulkner triggered the rapid demise with two wickets in three balls in a period when Australia took three wickets for one run in eight deliveries.

The last seven New Zealand wickets fell for 33 runs.

Not to be counted out, having bowled out Australia for 151 in a one-wicket pool win at Auckland a month ago, New Zealand took a wicket in the second over to make the chase more interesting.

Trent Boult, who took five for 27 against Australia in Auckland, took a return catch to remove Aaron Finch (0) – his tournament co-leading 22nd wicket – but David Warner (45) and Smith steadied the chase with a 61-run partnership in 64 balls.

Summarised scores:

New Zealand 183 in 45 overs (Grant Elliot 83, Ross Taylor 40; James Faulkner 3-36, Mitchell Johnson 3-30, Mitchell Starc 2-20). Australia 186-3 in 33.1 overs (Michael Clarke 74, Steve Smith 56 not out; Matt Henry 2-46). Australia won by seven wickets.