2015 Cricket World Cup: Discussion thread

So we are down to the two host teams to battle it out for the trophy on the grounds of one of them. Despite the advantage that playing in Melbourne gives the Australians, I am sticking with my original pick of New Zealand to win the game. They just strike me as a well-balanced, complete team. Both teams have good batting depth, explosive hitters, and excellent fast bowlers. They both field well. NZ has the edge in a wily and experienced spinner in Daniel Vettori. If they can keep their cool the way the did in that exciting semi-final game against South Africa, they should be able to defeat Australia. It is clear from my time here in Auckland that there is nothing that New Zealanders would like better than defeating their arch rivals in the final.

The other semi-final game between Australia and India started out well, with Australia seemingly headed for a formidable total before India regrouped well and restricted them to a still challenging 323. I must say that India’s strategy while batting baffled me. After starting well but then losing some wickets, their captain Dhoni seemed to display no sense of urgency even as the required run rate went well over ten. While one has to credit the Australian bowling as well, the impression I got was not of a player trying to score and being frustrated but of someone content to get singles and twos when they were clearly inadequate. He seemed to be content to cruise along. Even when he was run out, he did not try to dive for the crease but just pulled up though it would have been close. Weird.

A friend of mine was at the game and he said that India’s supporters were so noisy that it seemed like it was India that had the home field advantage. He said there were four drummers right behind them making such a racket that his wife decided to move to another seat and he had to request that they tone it down. But in the last hour or so, it all became quiet as India went down quietly to defeat.

Unfortunately, I will only be able to see the part of the first innings of the final before I leave for the airport to return to Cleveland. While I may be able to see more of the game at the terminal, I will be on the plane when it ends, except in the unlikely event of the team batting first experiencing a major collapse.

So I will leave this as an open thread for the cricket enthusiasts to discuss the final game before, during, and after it takes place, and join in the discussion after its ends when I am back in Cleveland.


  1. fentex says

    It would have been nice to beat India n the final so that we would have beaten all other top tier teams in the competition (and Pakistan just before it).

    But beating Oz for the world Cup title at the MCG would be it’s own sort of fun.

    All the bookies have Oz as favourites, and on history you’d have to agree. I continue to think that Australia will take confidence from the last game we played even though they lost because of the confidence they’ll have batting at home.

    But this game is no foregone conclusion, there is no clear and certain advantage enjoyed by either side.

    I got prepared by watching Lagaan, Once Upon A Time in India tonight. Great film, I recommend it to sports fans in general and cricket in particular.

  2. jockmcdock says

    Should be a great game. I think Oz will win, but it’ll be close.

    It’ll be a 4:30am start here in Holland. Forty years ago, I could do those early starts easily. Now, not so much. But the next WC will be 2019 and, amazingly, I won’t be four years younger. So, get it while I can.

    fentex, thanks for the film reference. I’ll try and find it.

  3. says

    Congratulations to the Aussie contributors and commiserations to the Kiwis.

    I turned the radio on at 10am just after crawling out of bed ; dontcha love being an atheist, to hear Australia were half way to the target for the loss of 2. Pretty inevitable from there and Clarke and Smith both got their 50’s seeing Australia home.

    Clarke, the owner of world sports second most annoying shit eating grin, right after Glenn Mcgrath, showing Smith how to build a captains innings, which will be handy for Smith over the next few years.

    England will be hosting both NZ and Oz over the summer, so hopefully we can keep the rain at bay and the gin flowing.

    I’m looking forward to it 🙂

  4. Holms says

    “Clarke, the owner of world sports second most annoying shit eating grin, right after Glenn Mcgrath…”

    No mention of Warne??

  5. Brian E says

    When McCullum won the toss and elected to bat, I thought it was the best chance of a close game. The Kiwis could run a big total, and make the Aussies chase hard. Sadly, Mitch Starc knocked over McCullumn, and the Kiwis were in trouble thereafter. Bummer. The Kiwis were great this tournament, that’s undeniable.

    No mention of Warne??

    Oh non-existent god no! Warne was painful on the commentary. All he ever talks about is Warne. No need to mention him again. Anyway, as an Aussie, I guess it was good that Clarke bowed out of the one-day game on top, and definitely good that Steve Smith did well, and doesn’t seem like a total tosser like Warne. The last 2 Aussie games didn’t pan out as hoped, not that the Aussie team would care one bit.

  6. fentex says

    Mitch Starc knocked over McCullumn, and the Kiwis were in trouble thereafter.

    NZ does not live and die by McCullums innings, nice as his contribution usually is.

    The problem was not his one duck but the other three and the poor shots that gave wickets away. On the day it seems as a batting side NZ was intimidated by the occasion and did not handle Australia’s thoughtfully applied pressure with discipline.

    And thus posted too low a total to be able to field sensibly -- and Australia feeling relaxed could bat however they felt at ease knowing the runs would come.

  7. electrojosh says

    NZ beat them in pool play and, I really believe, part of it was the element of surprise. Australian hadn’t played against us for about 4 years (I believe). We got a jump on them because we have some good players and they weren’t ready for us.

    They weren’t about to lose to us a second time though. They knew what to expect and they didn’t take us lightly.

    I think that, had India made the final instead, we would have had a greater chance for similar to reasons to our victory over Australia. Once I say the result of the Australia vs India semi -- I gave us a 30/70 percent chance.

    That said -- very happy to see the team exceed their previous world cup results and our own expectations.

  8. Brian E says

    NZ does not live and die by McCullums innings, nice as his contribution usually is.

    I didn’t say they did. I said they were in trouble thereafter. Which I think is pretty accurate.

  9. Andrew Rocelli says

    Well, we’ll try not to be too insufferable, and I’ll definitely remove the grin (after a day or two 🙂
    The Kiwis shouldn’t worry too much -- they eliminated many favoured teams in this comp and played fantastically. And after all, they’ll always have the rugby…….

  10. fentex says

    they’ll always have the rugby…….

    No we won’t.

    Oh sure we’ll always be contenders but professionalism has to displace the All Blacks prominence at some point. They’re still winning but only by the narrowest of margins (it’s amazing all on it’s own how their determination wins through such tight contests) among teams that are increasingly competitive as professionalism spreads skills and expertise.

  11. Mano Singham says

    Well, I am disappointed that NZ did not win. I watched the initial part of the innings and was dismayed by their loss of three early wickets. But McCullum was out to some really good bowling by Starc. What was a shock was Guptill being bowled by a perfectly ordinary straight ball by Maxwell, their second string bowler. That seemed like a real lapse in concentration by an otherwise excellent batsman.

    When I left for the Auckland airport, NZ was recovering at 120/3, though the going was slow, and I was hoping that they could reach at least 250 but when I got to the airport and went through all the usual processes and finally found a TV, I discovered that they were all out for 183 and it seemed to be bad for NZ. When I got on the plane, Australia were also around 120/3 and so it was not a surprise to find out from the flight attendants midway during my Air New Zealand flight to Los Angeles that they had lost.

    But Kiwis are a nice people and the flight attendants took it stoically, saying that they felt that they had proved themselves in this tournament that they are real contenders. That is true. NZ seemed to be always underestimated in the past though they have produced some outstanding cricketers. In future no one will take them so lightly.

    They can also take consolation from the fact that in this tournament, they produced the highest run scorer (Guptill), shared the position of top wicket taker (Boult), had the best individual score (Guptill), and the best individual bowling performance (Southee). Not too shabby.

  12. Suido says

    So much said about the early wickets. Rubbish. Early wickets happen in most games, and it’s not an impassable barrier to winning games of cricket.

    New Zealand, despite the pretty ordinary dismissals of McCullum and Guptill, were sitting very comfortably on 3/150 after 35 overs. I was expecting them to make 300. 7 balls later, they were 6/151, and they were still a chance of making 250 if they batted all their overs. Instead, they collapsed to be all out for 183.

    I reckon Australia probably would have chased whatever was set, but that collapse of 7/33 was when NZ lost control of the game and were relying on the Australian batting imploding in even worse fashion.

  13. fentex says

    While watching, about midway through, I was betting with friends that I thought we wouldn’t get more than 230 ~ 240, they argued for 270-ish.

    I agree NZ needed better than 300 to have a decent chance to win, more than 250 would have allowed them the option to field more sensibly and possibly force a real competition, but under 200 was never going to be a problem for Australia.

    Everyone was hoping Southee would recapture the glory of his 7 wicket bag against England but really he hasn’t played up to that level since, while Starc did keep his standard up, drats.

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