The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was played in Australia and New Zealand over 45 days. The tournament saw a record of 14 participating teams who would be split into two groups. Although the tournament was played on the fast and bouncy wickets of down under, the batsmen adopted an aggressive strategy particularly in the opening and slog over. The big totals of more than 300 runs were regularly scored and chased in the series.
The participating sides in that mega event of cricket were Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, England, Scotland, Afghanistan, South Africa West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the United Arab Emirates. A record of 49 total matches was played in the whole tournament. India was the defending champion having won the world cup in 2011. They however exited in the semi-final match with the co-hosts Australian finally crowned as champions for the record 5th time.
The Exciting League Stage Matches
Each side played the other 6 teams in its league, with the top 4 among each group going to the quarter-final stage. New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh qualified among the Group A. The Kiwis topped the pool by winning all their group matches convincingly. The team was led from the front by their inspiration Captain Brendon McCullum. He was wonderful behind the wicket and ruthless with the bat, giving his side many sensational starts by going after every bowler.
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The Australia versus New Zealand contest at Auckland was the best league match in the Pool A. Though a low scoring match, it went all the way down the wire, with the Kiwis victorious by 1 wicket. The English team faced a shocking exit in the league stage winning only 2 matches and failing to qualify the knockout round. Bangladesh was also a highly impressive and improved team. They showed it by the game and the grit, thus getting entry into the quarter-final stage of the cricket world cup 2015.
Group B also saw many exciting and intense matches. The second match of this pool between India and Pakistan was played at the Adelaide Oval. It drew a record global audience of more than 1 billion viewers worldwide. Indian won the match by 76 runs and thus kept intact their perfect world record against their arch-rivals. The South African team led by AB de Villiers scored more than 400 runs in 2 league matches. India topped the group winning all 6 of their matches. Pakistan, South Africa, and the West Indies were the other qualifying teams from this pool.
Cricket World Cup 2015: Quarterfinal Matches
The 4 quarter-finals of the 2015 ICC cricket world cup matches were played in the day-night schedule. In the 1st one in Sydney, the South Africans beat Sri Lanka by 9 wickets. The Lankans batted first but fell cheaply for just 133 runs in 37 overs. Kumara Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne were only two batsmen who made a valid contribution with 45 and 42 runs respectively.
In the South African bowling department, Imran Tahir took 4 wickets for his team. The South Africans chased the small total easily losing just 1 wicket in the process. Quinton de Kock was the top-scorer for his team with 78 runs. The South Africans were through to the semi-final stage of the tournament. The team was determined to get their hands on the maiden and elusive world cup trophy this time.
In the 2nd quarter-final match, the dominant Indian team outscored rivals Bangladesh in all departments. The Indians batted first and registered 302 runs on the board with Rohit Sharma scoring brilliant 137 runs. Suresh Raina also played an able hand by hitting a quick-fire 65 runs. The Bangladeshi batsmen were then bowled out for 193 runs in 45 overs. Mohammad Shami took 4 wickets and India won the match by 109 runs thus booking their ticket for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semis.
Pakistan met the hosts Australia in the 3rd quarter-final match of the 2015 ICC cricket world cup. The Pakistani team was put into batting first but suffered early blows thus being restricted to mere 213 runs. No Pakistani batter could reach 50 runs with Haris Sohail top-scoring with 41. Josh Hazlewood was the best Aussie bowler in the match as he took 4 wickets. The hosts then chased the total easily in just 34 overs and won the match 6 wickets in hand. Steven Smith and Shane Watson led the Aussie batting scoring 65 and 64* runs respectively.
In the last top 8 match, New Zealand and West Indies locked horns at Wellington. The Kiwis scored an astronomical 393 runs in their allotted 50 overs. Their opener Martin Guptill played the innings of his life scoring 237 runs single-handedly from just 163 deliveries. In return, the Caribbean batsmen played with positive intend but their over-aggression became counterproductive.
They reached 250 runs in just 30 overs but lost all their 10 wickets. The scoreboard pressure didn’t allow them to build the regular partnerships after Chris Gayle gave his side a great start making 61 runs off just 33 balls. Many Caribbean batsmen got good starts but no other could reach 50 runs. Trent Boult took 4 West Indian wickets and the Kiwis were now in the semi-finals of the 2015 ICC cricket world cup. They had won the match by a 143 run margin.
Cricket World Cup 2015: Semi-final Matches
The 4 best sides of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 had qualified to the semis stage. The last and most crucial matches were expected to hard-fought and intense. In the 1st semi-final match co-hosts New Zealand would take on South Africa in Auckland. The Proteas batted first in the rain-affected match and scored a fighting total of 281 runs in 43 overs. Faf Du Plessis and AB de Villiers led their side’s batting by scoring 82 and 65 runs respectively. David Miller gave the final push to the total making 49 runs from mere 18 deliveries.
Due to the Duckworth and Lewis rules, the Kiwis were given a revised target of 299 runs in 43 overs, which looked very challenging. Their Skipper Brendon McCullum used his aggression to the best giving his side a great start by scoring 59 runs from mere 26 balls. In the middle order, Grand Elliot and Corey Anderson played the solid innings of 84 and 58 respectively. The Kiwis finally arrived home with just 1 delivery remaining. The match was epic from start to finish and the losing South African side could not hide their tears of being denied the World Cup glory once more.
The 2nd semi-final match of the 2015 ICC cricket world cup was played in Melbourne between the other two heavyweight teams India and Australia. The hosts batted first and got to a great total of 328 runs. Steven Smith and Aaron Finch top-scored with 105 and 81 runs respectively. The Aussies used the death overs well scoring more than 50 runs in the last 5 of them. Among the Indian bowlers, Umesh Yadav took 4 wickets but gave away a mammoth 72 runs in 9 overs.
The Indian batters had a massive task ahead. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma gave the team a good start building 76 runs opening partnership. However, after that Indians kept on losing wickets regularly and also failed to accelerate the scoring rate. The whole team was all out in 47 overs for 233 runs with Skipper MS Dhoni top-scoring at 65. All Aussie fast bowlers were on target with James Faulkner getting 3 Indian wickets. Starc and Johnson got 2 each while remaining very economical. The Aussies would thus take on Kiwis in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final.
2015 Cricket World Cup Final
The two co-hosts met at the Melbourne cricket ground for a one-match shootout in pursuit of the biggest prize in the game of cricket. The match was expected to be an epic with both sides in great form and the stakes too high. However, it turned out to be a kind of anticlimax as the Kiwi top-order batsmen including McCullum were sent back quickly by the Aussies quick bowlers. Grand Elliot and Ross Taylor consolidated the New Zealand innings via a 111 partnership for the 4th wicket.
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Elliot scored 83 and Taylor got 40 runs. But soon there was another batting collapse after they got out. The Kiwi team was thus bowled out for a low score of 183 runs on the board. Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner took 3 wickets each among the Australian bowlers, giving their team an initial upper edge. The Australian batsmen chased the total easily in mere 33 overs. Michael Clarke played a captain’s innings of 74 runs for his team along with Steven Smith who remained not out on 56.
Australia thus won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 convincingly. They had become world champions for the record 5th time, the most by any team. James Faulkner was declared Man of the Match in the all-important final. Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was named as player of the series in the 2015 ICC cricket world cup for his consistently good bowling performances throughout the tournament.
These were the main highlights of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. We will continue to bring you the interesting details about that cricketing mega event in the coming days. Meanwhile don’t forget to pen down your valuable comments in the feedback section below.