Michael Clarke signed off with a half century and another World Cup title, leading Australia to a seven-wicket victory over first-time finalist New Zealand on Sunday in front of a crowd of 93,013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Clarke (74) and Steve Smith (56 not out), the current and the likely future captain, spearheaded Australia to the winning target of 184 in the 34th over to capture its fifth World Cup title.
Clarke, who played in the winning team in 2007, was bowled by Matt Henry nine runs short of the target in his 245th and last one-day international.
Australia’s left-arm pacemen did the damage early, with Mitchell Starc (2-20), Mitchell Johnson (3-30) and James Faulkner (3-36) combining to dismiss previously unbeaten tournament co-host New Zealand for 183 in 45 overs.
New Zealand innings
1st over - New Zealand make a disastrous start to their innings when captain Brendon McCullum is clean bowled by Mitchell Starc for a duck off the fifth ball after Martin Guptill got off the mark with a single. NZ: 1-1.
3rd over - The Black Caps get their first boundary off the bat when Guptill plays a delightful cover drive off Starc that races along the outfield. NZ: 11-1.
4th over - Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood digs one in short and Guptill gets a top edge which flies over the boundary rope on the full for a six, taking the New Zealander past Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara as the tournament’s leading scorer. NZ: 17-1.
9th over - Mitchell Johnson is introduced to the attack, replacing Starc. Johnson makes a tidy start, giving up a wide but no runs off his first over. NZ: 24-1.
10th over - After a cautious start, Kane Williamson gets his first boundary when he pushes Hazlewood down the ground as New Zealand reach the end of the first power play with a modest 31 on the board, their lowest of the tournament. NZ: 31-1.
12th over - New Zealand lose their second wicket when Guptill departs for 15, bowled by Australian spinner Glenn Maxwell, who replaced Hazlewood. The new batsman Ross Taylor hits his first ball, a juicy full toss, to the rope for four. NZ: 38-2.
13th over - New Zealand are in real trouble early on. Williamson, who hit the match-winning six when the teams played each other in the pool phase, falls for 12, hitting a straight-forward return catch to Johnson. NZ: 41-3.
14th over - Australian captain Michael Clarke brings Hazlewood back into the attack after Grant Elliott, who guided New Zealand to the semi-final win over South Africa, joins Taylor at the crease. NZ: 41-3.
16th over - The first drinks break is taken with New Zealand looking to rebuild their innings after a bad start. Taylor is unbeaten on 13 and Elliott not out five. NZ: 51-3.
20th over - Elliott is given out lbw on 15 after Maxwell raps him on the pads. But Elliott asks for a review and replays suggest the ball was missing leg stump so the decision is overturned. NZ: 66-3.
22nd over - New Zealand get their first boundary in nine overs when Elliott cuts Maxwell and the Black Caps get seven off the over. NZ: 77-3.
23rd over - Elliott top edges a bouncer from Starc that flies away for six, New Zealand’s second of the innings. NZ: 83-3.
27th over - New Zealand bring up their hundred off 158 balls when Elliott takes a single off Shane Watson to third man. Taylor edges the next delivery for four. NZ: 108-3.
28th over - Elliott reaches his half-century off 51 balls in 63 minutes when he chips Maxwell, who has shaved off his beard for the final, for a single to long off. 115-3.
33rd over - New Zealand make it through to the second drinks breaks without any further losses and ready to launch at the next powerplay. 134-3.
34th over - Taylor and Elliott reach their 100 run partnership off 126 balls as New Zealand continue to fight their way back. NZ: 142-3.
36th over - Australia makes a double breakthrough in the first over of the batting powerplay, bowled by James Faulkner. Taylor is brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 40 after slashing at a wide delivery then the new batsman Corey Anderson is bowled for a second ball duck. NZ: 150-5.
37th over: New Zealand in dire straits now after Luke Ronchi departs for a duck, caught by Clarke at slip off Starc. Australia going on all out attack now. NZ: 151-6.
38th over: Daniel Vettori gets off the mark with a nice push down the ground off Faulkner for four. NZ: 157-6.
40th over: Elliott survives a loud appeal for lbw off Faulkner, now bowling round the wickets. The Australians call for a review. It’s close but the umpire’s original decision stands and he is allowed to stay. The Black Caps managed just 15 runs off the power play for the loss three wickets. NZ: 165-6.
41st over: Johnson, brought back into the attack, fires a thunderbolt yorker that shatters Vettori’s stumps for nine. NZ: 167-7.
42nd over: New Zealand’s innings is crumbling now. Elliott departs for a brave 83, off 82 balls, caught behind by Haddin off Faulkner, who bowled a slower ball out of the back of the hand. NZ: 171-8.
43rd over: Tim Southee decides aggression is the way to go, smashing Johnson over his head for six to get off the mark. NZ: 178-8.
45th over: New Zealand’s innings comes to an abrupt when they lose their last two wickets in three balls. Matt Henry goes for a duck when he is caught by Starc at cover point off Johnson then Southee is run out at the non-strikers end after a brilliant direct hit from Maxwell. NZ all out for 183 in 45 overs.