Australia's captain Michael Clarke acknowledges the applause after being dismissed by New Zealand in the 2015 Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne on March 29, 2015Australia's captain Michael Clarke acknowledges the applause after being dismissed by New Zealand in the 2015 Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne on March 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/William West)
Melbourne (AFP) - Hits and misses at the 2015 World Cup which ended on Sunday:
- Australia cemented their status as the world's top-ranked team in one-day cricket by seeing off New Zealand in the final to clinch their fifth World Cup. It was also a perfect finish to his ODI career for skipper Michael Clarke, who made a fine 74, and movingly dedicated victory to his former team-mate Phillip Hughes who died last year.
- Cricket's boys from nowhere gave Sri Lanka and Bangladesh a scare before losing by 275 runs to Australia, who racked up a World Cup record total of 417, and by nine wickets to England.
But in between they clinched a thrilling one-wicket win over Scotland with tailender Shapoor Zadran hitting the winning runs before sprinting off and collapsing to the Dunedin ground in a memorable celebration. Team-mate Hamid Hassan became a cult hero with his red and green bandanna, Afghan flag face paint and cartwheel wicket-taking celebration.
- Bigger bats and tighter fielding restrictions made the 2015 World Cup a batsman's paradise. There were three 400-plus totals. Australia made 417 for six against Afghanistan while South Africa twice went through the barrier -- 408 for five against the West Indies and 411 for four in their game with Ireland.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill hit a World Cup record 237 not out against the West Indies, surpassing the previous World Cup best of 215, made by Chris Gayle against Zimbabwe at Canberra earlier in this tournament.
Gayle and Marlon Samuels also set a new partnership record for any ODI wicket of 371 in the win over Zimbabwe.
- England exited in the first round having failed to beat any of the four Test nations in their pool. Their misery was completed in a loss to Bangladesh in Adelaide where they were bowled out for 260 chasing 275 to win. England have never won the World Cup despite being finalists in 1979, 1987 and 1992.
- The sport's rulers were both praised but largely criticised for their plan to cut the number of teams taking part at the 2019 World Cup in England from 14 to 10.
They also came under fire for fining Wahab Riaz and Shane Watson after the pair went eye-to-eye in a compelling ball v bat confrontation in Pakistan's quarter-final with Australia ,while merely giving their own president Mustafa Kamal a slap on the wrist for his claims that Bangladesh's 109-run loss to India had been "pre-arranged".
Stars go out
- Dale Steyn and Virat Kohli should have been amongst the standout performers at the World Cup, but the reputations of two of the sport's marquee fast bowlers and batsmen suffered over the six weeks. Steyn took just 11 wickets in eight games and saved his worst to last, carted for one for 76 in the semi-final loss to New Zealand and conceding the match-clinching six to Grant Elliott in the final over.
Kohli, the swashbuckling batting superstar of India with a Bollywood actress for a girlfriend, made 107 in the opener against Pakistan but failed to get beyond 46 in his seven other innings. He made just one off 13 balls in the semi-final loss to Australia.