Aussies celebrate Cricket World Cup win
Thousands of fans packed into Federeration Square in Melbourne on Monday to celebrate Australia's win in the Cricket World Cup final. Australia beat fellow cohosts New Zealand by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Sunday's showdown in the 11th edition of the tournament was watched by a record 93,013 spectators.
Australia's skipper Michael Clarke finished his one-day international career in style with a dashing 74 as his side passed New Zealand's tally of 183 with more than 16 overs to spare.
Clarke, 33, will remain captain of the Australia test side and he immediately dedicated Australia's fifth trophy to former test batsman Philip Hughes, who died in November after being hit by a cricket ball in a regional game.
“I think for everybody in Australian cricket it’s been a really tough few months,” said Clarke, who wore a black armband containing Hughes’s initials. “I’ll wear it every game I play for Australia. I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself, I’m sure everybody will say that we’ve played this World Cup with 16 players."
Australia will now regroup for the longer form of the game. They face a five-test Ashes series against England starting in July at venues in Wales and England.
For the defeated New Zealanders, they'll at least have the knowledge that they can make a World Cup final. They had lost at the semi-final stage in six of the 11 events since the cup's inception in 1975.
Two of their players also emerged with honours. Martin Gupthill was the leading scorer of the 2015 world cup with 547 runs. He also hit the highest innings of the tournament, thrashing 237 during the quarter-final annihilation of the West Indies on 21 March in Wellington.
Bowler Trent Boult was joint top wicket taker with 22 wickets. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said on the eve of the final that his players should enjoy what he described as the time of their lives.
And he was suitably munificent in defeat.
"It's somewhat disappointing to have lost but Australia played better," he commented. "It came down to one game ... we gave ourselves the opportunity in the tournament and there was so much on the line but Australia stepped up and they were too good for us."
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe