It has been a month-and-a-half of carnival, and as the climax of cricket’s showpiece tournament, we have a fight-out for the World Cup title between the two nations who have jointly hosted the 2015 edition – Australia and New Zealand.Australia have an 85-35 win record against their neighbours in ODIs, and also have the advantage of having played 6 World Cup finals before, having turned out victors on 4 of those occasions.New Zealand have entered every World Cup with the perennial reputation of the ‘dark horse’, but have bowed out modestly each time – with the exception of the 1992 edition, also held in the Australian continent, where a valiant unit led by Martin Crowe had been deposed in the last over of the semi-final by eventual champions Pakistan.As a gauge to what we are in store for on Sunday, or just as a celebration for the famous and infamous moments served up in meetings between them, here is a look at the most exciting ODI matches played out between the two nations:
#1 2015 World Cup, Auckland - NZ
Australia and New Zealand have already had an encounter in this World Cup, a Pool A encounter which New Zealand pipped by 1 wicket, courtesy which they topped the group and consigned Australia to fighting for the runners-up spot.
The match was played on a stinging Auckland pitch which offered pace and bounce, and both sets of quicks were being successful in giving vicous swing to the ball, to produce a classic low-scoring encounter which left the audience on the edge of their seats till the last run was scored.
Australia batted first and looked to get on to a positive start. Trent Boult tore into the batting order, announcing his arrival on the biggest stage of international cricket, finishing his 10 overs with figures of 5-27.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin came in at 97-6 to top score with 43 and give the score some respectability.
In the second innings, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson got off to a solid start, but after the captain’s departure with the score at 78-2, New Zealand collapsed under pressure from Mitchell Starc’s persistent inswingers.
Things went down to the last wicket, as first-innings hero Boult was called upon to stay at the crease long enough for Williamson to take the Kiwis home. No.11 stood his ground for 2 breath-stopping balls, and Williamson hit the winning runs in style.Result – New Zealand win by 1 wicket, 161 balls remaining
Man of the Match – Trent Boult (New Zealand)