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New Zealand seeking to one-up 'big brother' Australia

MELBOURNE: New Zealand's cricketers grew up playing backyard battles against imaginary Australia sides and will be eager to get one over their "big brothers" in the World Cup final, paceman Tim Southee said. The trans-Tasman rivalry is fierce across all sports but will reach fever pitch on Sunday when nearly 100,000 will pack out the storied Melbourne Cricket Ground for the title-decider. "The rivalry between Australia and New Zealand does cover every sport and it is massive," Southee told reporters at the venue on Friday. "We're probably seen as the little brothers...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Penpix of the New Zealand squad for the World Cup final

Penpix of the New Zealand squad that will play the cricket World Cup final against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. - - Brendon McCullum, 33. Top-order batsman. 248 matches. 5,808 runs. High score: 166. The former wicketkeeper shelved the gloves due to a back issue that has dogged him for more than five years. Exhilarating hitter with exceptional bat speed. Has floated up and down the order in recent years but has given the co-hosts a flying start as an opener. He has scored four half-centuries at the World Cup with a strike-rate of almost 192. An inventive, aggressive ca...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Underarm incident still resonates before World Cup final

MELBOURNE: New Zealand's cricketing Gallipoli came on Feb. 1, 1981 when Australia captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl the last ball of a one-day match at the MelbourneCricket Ground along the ground. New Zealand, with an All Black at the crease in the form of Brian McKechnie, needed six to tie a World Series one-day final match. McKechnie blocked the ball and threw his bat away in disgust. His team had lost but the outcry was such that the defeat has resonated in all subsequent games between the two nations, including Sunday's World Cup at the same venue. "It wa...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Penpix of the Australian squad for World Cup final

Penpix of the Australia squad that will play the cricket World Cup final against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. - - Michael Clarke, 33, right-handed batsman. 244 matches, 7907 runs, wickets 57. Highest score: 130. Returning from a hamstring surgery, Clarke played his first match of the tournament in the narrow defeat to New Zealand. Apart from being one of Australia's finest batsmen, Clarke's creative approach to the captaincy has been key to his country's revival. One of only five squad members to have played at the World Cup before, he knows what it takes to win ...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Australia's renaissance leads to World Cup final

MELBOURNE: Australia's trip to a seventh World Cup final on Sunday may seem standard fare for a nation that has already won cricket's ultimate prize four times, but the achievement marks a stunning turnaround from the depths of two years ago. Battling mediocrity in all formats, Michael Clarke's side lurched from crisis to crisis in the annus horribilus of 2013, as reports of in-fighting, sackings and bar-room assaults dominated newspaper headlines. Pundits debate the exact moment of Australia's nadir, but few would have tipped the team's spectacular implosion during a 4-0 test series white-w...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Mature fans accept end of India's World champion reign

MUMBAI: India's notoriously volatile fans showed rare maturity in accepting the end of their team's reign as world champions after Thursday's semi-final defeat against co-hosts Australia in Sydney. The defending champions struggled during their build-up, losing a four-test series 2-0 against Australia and then failing to win a single match in the following tri-series, also involving England. But expectations soared after they won all their six pool matches and easily defeated Bangladesh in their quarter-final, taking all 70 opposition wickets in the process. The Hindustan Times newspaper su...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Preview: Form meets pedigree in Australasian World Cup final

SYDNEY: There's been no place like home for Australia and New Zealand on their respective paths to the World Cup final but just one of the co-hosts will enjoy that particular advantage when they meet in Sunday's title decider. After 48 one-day internationals played out over six weeks between teams from five continents, the 11th version of cricket's showpiece tournament comes down to a trans-Tasman tussle at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia, playing in their seventh final, have all the cricketing pedigree and their four previous titles make them by far the most successful nation in Wor...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-NZ prepare for final

MELBOURNE: Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the 34 years since cricket's notorious "underarm" incident, but in the sporting context memories of the incident have dimmed very little and the shadow it casts is no less. That shadow will inevitably fall over the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday when New Zealand and Australia meet in Cricket World Cup final: the incident has become folkloric and is evoked routinely when teams from the nations meet on any significant sporting occasion. It was on the same MCG pitc...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Australia thrash India to enter final

SYDNEY: Australia put themselves in line for a fifth World Cup title with an emphatic 95-run semi-final victory over defending champions India in Sydney on Thursday. Steven Smith hammered 105 off 93 balls and Aaron Finch returned to form with 81 as the hosts piled up 328-7 after electing to bat on a good pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground. India were bowled out for 233 in reply despite an opening stand of 76 between openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan and a typically defiant run-a-ball 65 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. James Faulkner finished with 3-59, while left-arm fast bowlers M...
Published On: 2015-03-27

Dhoni avoids retirement talk

SYDNEY: India captain MS Dhoni refused to give an indication whether he will retire from one-day cricket after his team lost the World Cup semi-final to Australia in Sydney on Thursday. The 33-year-old, asked if he had decided to stay or quit, bounced the question back at the media and asked them to “do research” on whether he should stay or leave. “I think you all should do research and whatever you write, the opposite will be the truth,” Dhoni said. “I am not that old, so do your research first.” Dhoni made a shock retirement from Test cricket in December...
Published On: 2015-03-27