Three deliveries made Aussies world champs
There was an unspoken belief in the MCG that Australia had won the 2015 Cricket World Cup five deliveries into the must-win final.
Five years ago today, Mitchell Starc’s pinpoint accurate yorker rattled Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum’s stumps, and 93,013 spectators went berserk. There has arguably never been a louder roar on a cricket field, certainly not in Australia.
McCullum was not only New Zealand’s captain, but he was the tournament’s most dangerous batsman. When he faced Australia in the group stage, he blasted a 21-ball fifty, reaching the milestone in less than seven overs.
The opening batsman’s strike rate for the 2015 tournament was a staggering 188.50 – the Australians knew they had to remove McCullum early, or cop another destructive barrage.
The moment Mitchell Starc bowled Brendon McCullum.Source:News Corp Australia
Speaking to cricket.com.au, former Australian captain Michael Clarks discussed how the bowlers planned to target McCullum in the highly-anticipated final.
“I had a conversation with the bowlers’ group about what I felt our plans needed to be,” Clarke said.
“Other bowlers had tried to attack the stumps, tried to follow him with short stuff, tried to mix their lengths up, but he was in great form. I said, ‘When you think of the last five overs of the game when guys are trying to hit us out of the park, what's our go-to ball?’. Everyone said, ‘the yorker’.
“Thankfully, we had a bowler who could bowl 150km/h and could execute that yorker as good as anyone in the world in Mitchell Starc.
"In cricket, one wicket doesn't win or lose you a game. But there was certainly a feeling with the way he was playing and the impact he was having on the tournament, if we could get him out, we were halfway there to winning.”
When McCullum got on strike, Starc immediately went to work, peppering the Kiwi with full inswinging deliveries. His first delivery beat the inside edge, narrowly missing off stump. McCullum erratically charges the second, which also misses everything.
But the third ball crashed into off stump, mighty McCullum dismissed for a duck.
History made! It was at this precise moment five years ago that Mitchell Starc produced an iconic World Cup final moment. He reflects on it here with @directhitau pic.twitter.com/RkC9ZpHTbc
“It was as loud a stadium as I've heard in Australia,” Australian batsman Steve Smith told cricket.com.au.
“There might have been a few louder in India. But in Australia, that's as loud as I've heard a crowd go.”
Player of the Match James Faulkner said, “I've never heard anything like it, other than maybe when Warney took his 700th Test wicket and I was a kid in the stands. It was just so loud”.
The remainder of the final was bread and butter for the hosts – the Black Caps were dismissed for 183, and Australia chased the target with seven wickets in hand and 101 balls to spare.
In his final ODI match for Australia, Clarke scored a classy half-century, and Smith – the team’s highest run-scorer for the tournament – hit the winning runs.
The 2015 World Cup Final was also significant for a trio of Australian cricket icons – it was the last ODI on home soil for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, paceman Mitch Johnson and all-rounder Shane Watson.
It was Australia’s fourth World Cup victory in five attempts and book ended a phenomenal period of global one-day domination.
Five years on, it remains one of Australia’s most memorable triumphs in cricket this century.
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