The 4 best teams have made it to the semi finals. 2 of three most complete sides have figured a ticket on the plane to the MCG. Similar to 2011, the world cup final is being contested between host nations, bringing to the fore a new trend of perceived home advantage. The year 2013 was all about home advantage as observed in Test Match cricket and in the IPL. The 2015 world cup has caught on well to the theme. There is more to it than just home advantage, as the World Cup aims to test a country in multiple situations. A complete and well balanced team just have better chances. It just happens that the home teams have got their selection spot on, while the sides with an iota of a weak link, have found themselves watching the World Cup semi-finals from the confines of their homes.
New Zealand have found a way to bring aggression as a key element into the way they play their cricket. Under Mccullum, they have taken some tough decisions, but have successfully persisted with players. Backing Guptill to peak into sublime form, having faith in Elliot as a finisher, deciding that Mcleneghan and Mills need to be in the dug out are examples of a leader seeing things differently from people just watching a game. New Zealand will find that a lot of the advantages that they had in home conditions would not be available. They would miss the swing of Eden Park in the first hour, the pint sized boundaries and of course, their brigade of Beige supporters( ok, add grey,cyan and blacks also to that list, given that NZ has had 4 different colours in ODI’s over time). Bigger grounds and flatter wickets will dampen the mood a bit, but New Zealand still compete with a pace battery and the guile of Dan Vettori.
New Zealand’s batting needs a relook at the mad max approach. At grounds like the MCG, teams need to build and grind their way to huge totals.New Zealand could do with a toned down version of Mccullum because if he bats 40 overs, Australia will feel uneasy.
Australia on the other hand will feel at ease. I’d rate them 6 times out of 10 to beat New Zealand in a home world cup final. On placid batting tracks Australia’s game of sending in their longish and aggressive middle order inoculates them from dangers of collapses. They have already had one in Auckland against the same opposition and retaliated very well, matching New Zealand inch by inch.
If you take away 2 sixes at Eden Park on the shorter boundary, you would realise that New Zealand’s campaign may have been different. That’s probably the only sore point in their campaign that they have twice managed to slip and it required 2 moments of extreme courage to swat a 140 plus pace bowler to long on for six. Australia’s only gaffe moment that they managed to overcome was a heated spell from Wahab Riaz.
Verdict- Australia beats New Zealand, in a match that would have moments for New Zealand, but Australia’s depth should win it for them