On Thursday, defending champions India tasted defeat against Australia during the second semi-final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) in Sydney; they lost by 95 runs.
The four-time champions will now face co-hosts New Zealand for the finals on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia has won the World Cup on four occasions previously: in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007. New Zealand, however, will appear in a World Cup final for the first time.
Australia posted an intimidating score of 328/7 at the end of their 50 overs, with Steven Smith scoring 105 off 93 balls, along with a valuable contribution by Aaron Finch, who scored 81.
In response, India, who hadn’t lost a single game in the competition until the semi-final, succumbed to a score of 233 runs. Their defeat also brings to a close their streak of 16 consecutive wins in major one-day international matches, including the World Cup and Champion Trophy.
“I feel really excited,” Michael Clark, Australian captain, said at the post match presentation. “Smithy was exceptional once again, and I was really proud of the execution of our bowlers.
“Our preparation has been outstanding, losing to New Zealand really gave us a kick up the backside. Mentally I think the guys are ready to walk into the final.
“New Zealand have been playing some great cricket, Brendon [McCullum] has done a great job.”
After winning the toss, Australia opted to bat first. The second wicket partnership of 182 runs between Finch and Smith, and a blinding cameo from Mitchell Johnson – scoring 27 runs off nine balls – towards the end, gave Australia the impetus to reach 328/7.
Although the Indians began impressively, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma racing to 76 runs for the opening wicket partnership in 12.4 overs, they soon started losing their way. Premier batsman Virat Kohli could only manage one run. Captain MS Dhoni’s run-a-ball 65, which included three fours and two sixes, couldn’t keep India afloat.
“Overall Australia played very good cricket,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation. “Over 300 is a very big score to chase, but I thought it was just over par.
“I felt the fast bowlers would have done slightly better. A lot of people didn’t think we would get this far in the tournament, but in the knockout stages you have to raise your game.”
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