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World Champions: Australia bowl over New Zealand

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CHAMPIONS: Australia clinched their fifth world title after a convincing victory over New Zealand in Melbourne

CHAMPIONS: Australia clinched their fifth world title after a convincing victory over New Zealand in Melbourne

It was the perfect end to a glittering One Day International career for Australia captain Michael Clarke as he lifted his nation’s fifth World Cup title after a dominant seven wicket victory over New Zealand.

The two host nations were the deserved finalists of this year’s World Cup tournament, charging through their opponents in every round and setting up a highly anticipated final.

With momentum behind both sides, a close game was expected yet when New Zealand opted to bat first and found themselves at 39-3, the story appeared to be rewritten.

Brendon McCullum was dismissed for a duck whilst fellow opener, Martin Guptill, made just 15 runs from 34 balls.

A 111-run stand from Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot steadied the ship somewhat, taking the score to 150 before a collapse of seven wickets for just 23 runs, resulted in a final score of 183 all out.

RETIRING: Michael Clarke shakes the hand of Brendon McCullum as he is bowled out for the final time in One Day Internationals

RETIRING: Michael Clarke shakes the hand of Brendon McCullum as he is bowled out for the final time in One Day Internationals

Australia made the chase look easy, and when Clarke exited the wicket with a score of 74 runs from 72 balls, the 93,000 in attendance stood up to applaud the exiting skipper.

Speaking to reporters the day after their victory, Clarke praised the efforts of all the players who lived up to their tag as ‘pre-tournament favourites’.

“I think we're extremely proud,” he said.

“The fact there was a lot of expectation and added pressure put on us at the start of the tournament being a home World Cup was something we embraced from the first ball of the tournament.

“And I think the boys should be really proud of what we've achieved.”

Defeat leaves New Zealand still in search of their first World Cup title whilst Australia have now won four of the last five contests to cement their place at the top of the sport.

West Indies and India (two apiece), and Pakistan and Sri Lanka (one each) are the other nations to have found success in the competition.

 

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Cricket world mourns death of batsman

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Phillip Hughes

TRAGEDY: Phillip Hughes died in hospital after being hit in the back of his head by a ball during a routine domestic match

The tragic death of Australian cricketer, Phillip Hughes, earlier this week has resulted in calls from many in the cricketing community for a review into the safety aspect of the game.

Hughes was hit on the back of his head whilst batting in a domestic match on Tuesday with the force of the blow piercing his vertebral artery and causing blood to gush into his brain.

He sadly died in hospital just two days later at the age of 25.

Former England opener, Geoffrey Boycott OBE, has said there is a false sense of safety now in the sport when batsmen feel their protective gear is enough to protect them from fast-paced balls.

AWARENESS: Geoffrey Boycott said he thinks batsmen suffer from a false sense of security due to protective gear

AWARENESS: Geoffrey Boycott said he thinks batsmen suffer from a false sense of security due to protective gear

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “Most of my career I batted on uncovered pitches without a helmet.

“This taught me how important it was to have a good technique against fast bowling.

“You required judgement of what to leave, when to duck and when to play the ball.”

Adding: “Helmets have unfortunately taken away a lot of that fear and have given every batsman a false sense of security.

“Even tail-enders come in and bat like millionaires, flailing away and having a go at short balls with poor technique and lack of footwork.

“Helmets have made batsmen feel safe in the belief that they cannot be hurt and made batsmen more carefree and careless.”

Former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, is just one major stakeholder who has called on the game's administrators to work on upgrading safety standards

“This is very, very sad,” he said speaking to Reuters. “These injuries are part of cricket but precautions should be taken so that such incidents do not happen.

“I hope this never happens again on the cricket field.

“After the Nari Contractor incident a number of years have passed. But if we are still struggling with the quality of protective gear, that's a very sad thing on the part of the administrators.”

Contractor was a former captain of the Indian national side who was also struck on the skull whilst batting in a practice match, ending his international career.

After being taken to hospital, he was unconscious for days before a miraculous recovery resulted in Contractor surviving the ordeal after several operations and blood transfusions.

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