short and pulled away with a whirl of those rubber wrists! There she blows, the winning runs fittingly from Smith's bat - Australia win the World Cup final by seven wickets, New Zealand were just swept aside in the end. Smith has been one of Australia's leading lights and he had guided them home at the G
9.45pm: The trophy has been held aloft and, after a six-week journey, Australia are crowned World Champions. They're off on a victory lap, which will take a while across the wide expanse of the MCG. The emotion briefly welled up again in Clarke when he paid tribute to Hughes; Australia play their cricket close to the edge but Clarke, in particular, makes them a likeable, human bunch. Both captains spoke with humility and praise for each other at the end and both sides have played a huge part in making this tournament memorable.
We've had a blast, haven't we? The batsmen certainly did, though the Man of the Final and Man of the Tournament were bowlers. We will remember spells from Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Wahab Riaz for as long as we do those innings of fury from Martin Guptill, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell. Not to mention the contributions made from all across the cricketing world, from Shaiman Anwar and William Porterfield, Shapoor Zadran and Sean Williams.
The final, in the end, was something of a waltz but we'll not forget Baz and his Black Caps charging through the competiton with an aggressive approach that will forever leave its mark. The G got the result it wanted, however. We'll have plenty of reaction, appreciation and analysis coming up on the site, so stick around. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to bring you the action, we'll be back again in four years' time (possibly before then, too). From Sid and myself and all the guys and girls in New Zealand and Australia, India, England and the US, thanks for joining in and see you again soon. Bye!
9.25pm: Presentations, one last time this World Cup... Mention of farewells for Sangakkara and Jayawardene, Misbah and Afridi, Clarke. Maybe Vettori too. Up come the officials for their medals, then the New Zealand players. Here's New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum: "It's been one hell of a ride for us, right the way through, we played some outstanding cricket. We ran into an outstanding team in Australia, they continue to set the standard. Michael Clarke bows out on a high note, they deserved to win. [Early dismissal] Probably unfolded not as planned, but we got ourselves back in the game at 3 for 150. With 180, you still dare to dream, could have ended up differently with a couple of things going our way. This is what you ask for as a cricketer, we've had the opportunity. We've forged memories and friendships that will last forever. Didn't lift the trophy but no regrets, the brand of cricket we've played and we walk away with our heads held high. It's the greatest time of our lives and that's how we tried to play the game, with a free spirit and heart. Still think we can be very proud of our achievements in this tournament."
There's a big cheer when it's announced that Sachin Tendulkar will present Man of the Match award. It is goes to James Faulkner: "Pretty amazing feeling, in front of 90,000 at the MCG. We've had an amazing journey the last couple of years. [Impact in the Powerplay] The skipper tosses you the ball and it works out like that sometimes. I thought I might not be here today, so this is an amazing feeling."
Man of the Tournament now, and it is Mitchell Starc, the master of the reverse-swinging yorker, heir to Wasim Akram, who picked up 22 wickets: "Amazing tournament, some outstanding performances but to cap it off. NZ have set the standard all tournament but we led it home. I've worked really hard for a number of months now, a few series ago we sat down and to see it come to fruition it's been phenomenal. Little lucky, it was a plan Craig and I had but to see it executed. Brendon's been fantastic all tournament. The fans have been fantastic, to win in front of this many people, there's nothing like it. Going to enjoy this one for now."
Finally, the triumphant captain, on his final day in the job, Michael Clarke: "Over the moon, what a tournament, Brendon and NZ deserve a lot of credit, always a tough team to beat, whenever we play them in any sport - so well done to Baz and his team, especially personally, he had an amazing performance. Thanks to every Australian and cricket supporter out there who've been behind us. The team and support staff, the support I've had since coming back into the team, they deserve to stand there with the trophy. Said we were ready mentally and we managed to get it all together physically. [No23 shirt?] Might give it back to Warney... Haven't given it much though, time is right to walk away from one-day cricket, I'll still be playing Test cricket. [Black arm bands] It's got PH on it, I'll wear it every time I play for Australia. Been a really tough few months and everyone would say we played this World Cup with 16 players. Tonight is dedicated to our little brother. Hughesy used to party as well as any of them. We're really proud, it's a wonderful achievement, to win in our own backyard in front of family and friends."
9.10pm: The men in yellow stream out on to the pitch, engulfing Smith. Big brother has prevailed and Australia can forget about 1992 - they've won the World Cup on home soil. For the fourth time in five, too. After the disappointment of 2011, they are a mean one-day machine again. New Zealand won a whole lot as well at this tournament, in terms of admiration and affection from beyond their own shores, but they came up short across the ditch. David Warner says he has lost his voice, as unlikely as it seems. "Thanks to everyone who has come out to support us, credit to you guys."
"They've been fantastic over the six weeks and the support we've had is unbelievable," says Darren Lehmann, of his players, moments before he gets an ice bucket dumped over him. "That's why I love them," he adds. Aaron Finch is chuffed to win in front of his home crowd, as you would expect. And Shane Warne has Smiffy alongside him: "Unbelievable feeling. We said we wanted to play out best games at the end of the tournament. To win three down is amazing... The bowlers set it up for us. Thanks for everyone coming out." He's with Mitchell Starc, whose spearing of Brendon McCullum after three balls was a huge tone-setter in this game. It's "topped off the summer," he says.
The Australians are all out there, on the pitch, having microphones shoved in front of them. Shane Watson has a word for New Zealand: "They've been the form side of world cricket the last six months, Brendon McCullum has done an incredible job, they have match-winners through their team. We're incredibly glad to have won." New Zealand, of course, had already laid to rest 1992 and, as Martin Crowe wrote beforehand, this final was always going to be the "perfect ending". But you can be sure they would have preferred to win.
Australia will be receiving the trophy shortly, their fifth World Cup. Two years ago, they were being whitewashed in India and going out of the Champions Trophy without a win. Lehmann has helped recapture their mojo, they'll certainly celebrate under the southern cross tonight. And at the end of the Australian summer, after the pain of Phillip Hughes' passing in November, this will also be a cathartic triumph.
NZ are scrapping to the end. As you would expect from this team
full again, dug out back past the bowler, mid-on busts a gut to get there and cuts it off, keep them to a single. Still two more required
excellent yorker from Southee, right on middle and off, Smith drops the bat on it in time
full length, almost the leg-stump yorker and Smith is defeated walking to the off side, slips narrowly past the wicket
"Seems sort of fitting that the departing Aus captain has left it to the future Aus captain to bring the current crop of Aus players home," says Liam
pitched up and driven wide of mid-on, there's a direct hit but Watson was safe
continues to angled in from the channel, played to the leg side off his body
length ball around the line of off, Watson comes across and blocks lugubriously
goes across and defends on off stump
Australia need four. One shot to win...
fullish outside off, steers this behind point for two that takes him past fifty for the fifth time in the tournament. Smiffy's World Cup? Or Starc's?
on the stumps, Smith whips a couple more past midwicket
short again, drops deep and pulls one away through square
drops back and defends a short-of-a-length delivery on the stumps
Clarke won't be there at the end but he has dictated the terms of Australia's victory... Got a pat on the bum from Smith, too. Shane Watson is in at No. 5, Australia need nine more
bowled him, Clarke has chopped on! He wont get to hit the winning runs but he will get a huge ovation from the MCG as he walks off for the last time in ODIs. He was trying to run one to third man, got an inside edge down on to the woodwork... Was that him wiping away something from his eye as he crossed the boundary rope?
starts with a back-of-the-hand slower ball, drifts down the leg side
The Australians are lining up near the boundary. It's coming, er, home? Matt Henry comes back on, still a couple of slips in
fullish, outside off, Smith comes out to meet it but spanks a drive straight to mid-off
bangs this in short, sits back ready for it, paddles a single around the corner
four more, that's four in a row! Short and wide this time and Clarke dismissively rifles a cut away, it's all coming in a rush, six weeks of tension ebbing away
length outside off, four more, sliced past point, flowing front-foot square drive from Clarke, he's charging towards the cup
four more, low full toss whacked through the covers, zips past the man at short extra
full and straight, in the slot and Clarke carts it over wide long-on... well, not quite over, plenty of bottom-handed muscle in that but it bounces short of the rope
Official crowd at the MCG today is a record 93,013
|Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Toss||New Zealand, elected to bat first|
|Player Of The Match|
|Player Of The Series|
|Series result||Australia won the 2014/15 ICC Cricket World Cup|
|Match number||ODI no. 3646|
|Hours of play (local time)||14.30 start, First Session 14.30-18.00, Interval 18.00-18.45, Second Session 18.45-22.15|
|Match days||29 March 2015 - daynight (50-over match)|