By: Keyur Seta
There is high excitement for tomorrow’s World Cup 2015 Final between Australia and New Zealand at Melbourne. From reading various social media posts, we can ascertain that the scenes are similar all over the world; in India too despite their team being knocked out of the competition in the Semi-Final. The reason for such eager anticipation is not limited to the fact that it is the final match of World Cup.
What has caught cricket lovers’ frenzy is that it will be played between two completely evenly matched sides. Of course, if you look at the overall record of both the teams, Australia has had the upper hand over New Zealand. But it is the current form that matters the most in such big matches and going by that, there is really not much to choose between both the sides.
One can argue that New Zealand has the upper hand as they haven’t lost a single match in the WC and Australia having lost one and that too against them. New Zealand did win the match but it lost 9 wickets in the process of scoring just 153 runs. On the other hand, although Australia lost the match, it managed to almost win. Hence, both sides are terribly evenly matched!
With these two teams entering the finals, it has also become one of the rare cases where two most deserving sides are playing for the title. There have been quite a few cases in the previous World Cups where teams not doing too well managed to reach the final while the ones deserving failed to do so by faltering in the knockout match.
For example, Australia and Pakistan in 1999 and Pakistan in 1992 didn’t have close to a flawless run but still managed to reach the final. Similarly, South Africa in 1996 won all their league stage matches and looked to be the strongest team but it lost against the West Indies in the Quarter Final.
But having said all this, I personally feel Australia has the edge over New Zealand due to a number of reasons. Firstly, this is Australia’s seventh final. Although none of their players have played a WC final before, they have been through the feeling of their country playing for the highest honor. On the other hand, this is New Zealand’s first one.
But more than this, what can affect NZ is that they have played all their 2015 WC matches at home. So, they are playing for the first time away from home and that too in the all-important WC final.
These are, however, not major issues for NZ. If they make sure they are not affected by the huge occasion mentally, we might have a cracker of a game that goes right down to the wire (excuse me for the Shastrism). If that happens, it might be the closest World Cup Final ever.
But as far as India is concerned, the country is BLEEDING BLACK this time!