The 2015 World Cup final will see some amazing talent from Australia and New Zealand coming face to face. The last time these two teams met in the league stage, it made for one hell of a game which went all the way down to the wire, with New Zealand holding their nerve, and getting home in the end. As the teams clash again for the big prize at the MCG, we take a look at five key battles within the battle.
Brendon McCullum vs Mitchell Johnson: Although Martin Guptill is the second highest run-scorer in this World Cup, so much would depend on how the New Zealand skipper performs at the top of the order. Irrespective of the situation, there is only one way McCullum will look to bat, go on an all-out attack. More often than not McCullum’s tactics have come off in this competition. The last time these two teams meet, McCullum destroyed Johnson. The Aussie pacer would be keen to get his own back. And, what better occasion that the World Cup final, that too at home?
Kane Williamson vs Josh Hazlewood: Staying calm can have a huge influence on the team in a big game. While New Zealand have many stroke players, Williamson is crucial in that he can keep one end going without taking many risks. If there is one man who can anchor the innings perfectly, it is Williamson. He did the same the last time these teams met. Hazlewood has been preferred for Cummins in the last couple of game, and he has the ability to unsettle batsmen with his pace and accuracy. Getting past Williamson should be among his major tasks.
Corey Anderson vs Mitchell Starc: AfterMcCullum, Anderson is the biggest hitter in the Kiwi side. And, if he gets an opportunity, the Kiwi middle order batsman would surely like to make an impact, like he did in the semi-final. While Starc would be expected to get some early wickets at the top, he has also been destructive in the middle overs. It is most likely that he will come across Anderson in his second spell. If he can send back Anderson early, it will be a great relief for Australia.
David Warner vs Trent Boult: TheAussie opener may not be in form, but big players often rise to the occasion. Warner would be keen to come up with a match-winning knock in the final at the top of the order, akin to what Adam Gilchrist did in 2007. He is eminently capable of the same. Trent Boult has been the star performer for New Zealand with the ball. And the Kiwis would be looking up to him to get the early breakthroughs. The wicket on Warner should definitely be high on his list.
Glenn Maxwell vs Daniel Vettori: The Aussie middle-order bat can turn a match on its heads in a matter of a few balls. New Zealand cannot afford to have him firing on the big day. Taking the pace off the ball might be one way to stop Maxwell. This is where Vettori could come in handy. He has the experience and the guile as well. But, can he stop Maxwell from firing on all cylinders? We’ll know on Sunday.
--By A Cricket Analyst