New Zealand have won the toss and elected to bat in the 11th Cricket World Cup final versus Australia at the MCG on Sunday afternoon on what looks a dry pitch.
“We haven’t changed a thing, the guys are playing well,” commented Brendan McCullum after the toss.
“I would have batted first but the wicket looks fantastic, so I don’t think it matters,” said Australian captain Michael Clarke. Australia will be playing with the same XI that won the semi-final against Pakistan.
“The pitch looks dry and slower than I expected,” commented Fox Sports commentator Ryan Harris pre-match.
“It is very similar to the England pitch,” Harris said referring to the pool match Australia played against England on the 14th February. Australia managed to hit a decent 9/342 including 135 run innings from opener Aaron Finch and defeat the Poms by 111 runs after Mitchel Marsh grabbed 5/33.
In what is expected to be a world record crowd for a Cricket World Cup final, the scenes were jovial before what is shaping up to be an entertaining match.
With the big hitting of Warner, Finch, McCullum and Williamson, runs could tick over early. Even with the talk about the ‘long MCG boundaries’ runs are being demanded in anticipation by the fans.
The Kiwis kept warm and chilled with a friendly pre-match game of soccer. Brendan McCullum was as cool as he has been all tournament, following up comments about the venue with a cheery response:
“I think the bigger bats help these days… we will enjoy having a go,” the Kiwi captain commented in a pre-match press conference.
It is Michael Clarke’s final ODI for his country but the pressure was not showing pre-match as the players enjoyed a group huddle on field with comedian Andy Lee (of Hamish and Andy). Clarke interacted jovially with his team-mates and Lee during the brief appearance.
“The games is evolving into a great game,” commented Fox Sports Australia commentator Brian Lara reflecting on some impressive statistics from this World Cup. The most 300+ run innings and the most 400+ run innings in any World Cup to go along with the quickest 50, 100 and 150 run totals by individual batsmen has ensured an entertaining tournament for the fans.
Many are tipping Steve Smith as the player to steer the Aussies home. Australia have won each game that Smith has scored over 50 runs.
“I think he will have a great game today and continue what has been a tremendous summer,” commented Alan Border as part of the Fox Sports commentary team.