Cricket

Congratulations to Australia

My congratulations to the Australians for being crowned World Champions. They completely outplayed New Zealand in what was a one-sided contest, to become champions for the fifth time.

In many ways, this was a disappointing final because the occasion deserved a better and closer contest. However, it was Australia’s day, and their performance was outstanding. They handled the pressure better than New Zealand. Sadly for the Black Caps, they played their worst game of the tournament.

The motivation for both teams was the extreme desire to be World Champions. Both teams wanted the honour and glory of being the best team in the world, but only one team could get there and it wasn’t New Zealand.

This was a great opportunity for the Black Caps to do something historic for NZ cricket. They had gone beyond what ten previous New Zealand teams had done by reaching the final for the first time. But they wanted more, they wanted to win. They wanted to beat ‘big brother’ who were the No.1 ranked team in world cricket.

Having been undefeated in the tournament with eight wins in a row they wanted the big prize. They wanted to send Daniel Vettori out on a winning note as he has now retired from International cricket after 18 years of great service to the game.

Brendon McCullum wanted his team to play well, and play for all New Zealanders who had supported them throughout this campaign.

He said he had felt the emotion and support of a nation. There was a sponsor’s catch-cry of “Dream big New Zealand” and the whole country dared to believe in this team.

Sadly, all those goals failed to materialise, but I’m sure all New Zealanders will be proud of how they played the game and what they did achieve.

When New Zealand were 39 for three, a big score was unlikely. The Black Caps fought back through Grant Elliott (83) and Ross Taylor who took the score to 150 for three, and that gave the team and the fans some hope.

But a devastating spell of bowling from Mitchell Johnson, James Faulkner and company collected a further seven wickets for 33 runs.

A total of 183 was always going to be too difficult for the Black Caps to defend. A fairytale ending for the Black Caps failed to materialise as Australia easily chased it down.

Four years of planning and preparation came down to seven hours of good cricket, but the Black Caps couldn’t handle it. The coach had worked hard to prepare the players the best he could for the most important match of their careers.

They may never get another chance, and this loss will haunt the Kiwis because they are a better team than this performance showed them to be.

For Australia, this was a grudge match and sweet revenge. New Zealand beat them by one wicket at Eden Park in pool play.

That loss hurt them badly and helped them refocus and get back on track — thereafter they played some great cricket and smashed all those who challenged them. 

For Michael Clarke, it was his last ODI and the team wanted to send him out on a high, and they did. Australia always said they were the best team in the competition and could win the World Cup.

After playing in seven World Cup finals they knew how to rise to the occasion and win. The thought of losing to New Zealand would have been unbearable.

Also, the MCG has not been a happy hunting ground for the Black Caps. The Kiwis had not played there for six years. They had won only eight games of the 24 played at the venue which is Australia’s fortress especially with the intimidating crowd — over 93,000 people attended this final, a world record.

For both teams there was the small matter of prize money that may have been a great motivating factor to lift one’s performance. Each player is likely to benefit by $400,000. A nice reward and pay day to conclude six weeks’ work.  — Hawkeye/Chivach Sports


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:45:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/congratulations-to-australia-richard-hadlee-column/article7046116.ece

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