The trans-Tasman cricket World Cup final may have failed to live up to expectations, but the Australians were deserving winners. The result re-establishes the country's status as the best in the sport.
Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com salutes the new ICC World Cup champions.
And the Cup is back to where it belongs. The most successful nation in cricket history.
By beating New Zealand by seven wickets in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia won the ICC World Cup for an unprecedented fifth time.
No other country has won the quadrennial competition on more than two occasions.
Coming to the match per se, suffice to say, it involved the two best teams in the competition. That they happened to be the tournament co-hosts was just coincidence.
Aggressive cricket, and consequently an eight-match winning streak had earned the Black Caps a place in the final for the first time, after six previous semi-final heartbreaks.
Under an astute captain (Brendon McCullum) they played some of the best cricket in the tournament and justified their tag as one of the tournament favorites.
Their opponents were a stark contrast, having never lost a semi-final (in seven attempts) in the competition. On this occasion they disregarded the hype and broken a billion hearts in showing the defending champions (India) the exit door.
The match also happened to be Michael Clarke's final ODI, Australia’s captain having announced his decision to retire on the eve of the decider.
And it was his opposite who probably ensured Clarke had a perfect swansong.
Having won the toss, for New Zealand to score big it was imperative for McCullum to be at his belligerent best from the outset. Like he had done throughout the tournament; like he had done in the semi-final against South Africa.
Unfortunately for New Zealand, he survived only three deliveries. The Black Caps lost the plot at the start.
The rest of the match was more of a formality.
In the final analysis, it was a match-up between a side that's learning to win and a side that is destined to win.
Many Indians, who were rooting for the Black Caps (for obvious reasons), took to social media to point out that Kapil Dev's side too had scored 183 in the 1983 final against the then mighty West Indies. And won.
What they did forget is the fact that in India it takes one good result to boast for the next 20-30 years. For this is a hopelessly hopeful country. Only the pragmatists know that result was a fluke.
Australia’s triumph proves yet again that it is better to be pragmatic than expect another fluke. The clinical manner in which they went about their chase is ample testimony of that attitude.
An attitude that ensured them a fifth title. One that makes them the most successful side in the history of the game.
- Don't miss Uttam Ghosh's earlier illustrations