MCG Maze and World Cup Cricket Final Puzzle
MCG is the largest and the most beautiful Cricket Stadium in the Southern Hemisphere .This along with Lords and Eden Gardens are the three top cricket ground of the world. The ground is perhaps the largest and stadium is very special. When 100,000 capacity crowd create Mexican Waves it reverberates with joy .Toady in about 9 hours from now Tasman neighbors Australia and New Zealand will appear at the cricket coliseum for settling who wins ICC World Cup 2015 .It will be record five times if Australia wins but it will be the first time if New Zealand can get over MCG maze and win.
ICC World Cup started in the Southern Hemisphere almost a month and a half back. The much different Australia and New Zealand condition always presents a new challenge of new dimension for the visiting teams . Especially for the teams of Indian subcontinent hard bouncy wickets of Australia and small windy grounds of New Zealand creates huge adjustment issues .Reigning champions India stayed in Australia for four months in its desperate efforts for retaining the trophy .ICC also left nothing unturned to make their path the bed of roses . But India became a spectator now at MCG final after getting shocked and awed by strong Australia. Throughout the summer Amazing Australia whipped Indians in all format of the game. Now at MCG the only Indian presence will be their convicted cricket administrator K Srinibhasan handing over the trophy to either Michael Clark or Brendon McCullam after the final which appears to be a battle royal.
Handling MCG maze will be a huge challenge for the high flying Kiwis /Black caps. They have won all 8 matches that they played in this world cup since their first match against Sri Lanka on day one .Their victim even included Australia in the Poll match. But today they will appear for the first time in this world cup outside their known environment and on the favorite ground of Australia. It is not that Kiwis will be playing there for the first time .But this is their first final and that too against a very strong home team waiting to avenge their pool match defeat. Their task of adjusting with the large ground after coming out from relatively smaller New Zealand Grounds is well cut out .The batsmen while playing over the top have to adjust with the size of the ground , the fielders will have to set their bearing right.
Not in the distant past Australia New Zealand bilateral series was annual affair .But after three musketeers of World Cricket starting the ruling that annual affair has become an event of the past.
The present New Zealand team appears well department .A well balanced team and a perfect blend of experienced seasoned professionals and budding young talents .Master blaster skipper Brendon McCullam is in prolific form. So is talented Martin Guptill. Much of the success of the Kiwis will depend what kind of start they give to the innings against very probing Australian new ball attack of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood .Mitchell Johnson will also be waiting to taste the flying Kiwis with his chin music . Kiwi top and middle order comprising of Williamson, Taylor , Elliot and Anderson are in sizzling form. But at MCG against a very strong Australian attack in a large ground they have to change their game a lot. Australia has a much stronger bowling unit and they are excellent fielding side. Michael Clark in his last ODI appearance will set bobby traps for McCullam and co. The fifth bowling combination of Australia is the only relatively weaker area. Watson, Faulkner and Maxwell will share twenty overs among them . They are far better in MCG condition than many top rated bowlers of other teams and they have good feel of MCG. All three knows at what length and line to bowl at MCG. The challenges of blasting them will not be easy. But Kiwis are a team in motion and may prove equal to the task.
The Kiwis attack whether pace or spin is comparable with Australia. Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson are as good as any bowlers .Henry coming into the team has not disappointed. Warner and Flinch may find them too hot to handle. Smith is in sizzling form. Smith and Maxwell may create headache with their usual and unusual batting exploits. Australia has huge depth and quality in their batting. Clark is due for a last hurrah and Watson can always fire .Haddin, Faulkner and even Starc Johnson are capable of striking gold. It will be fire against fire .Old fox Dan Vittori in Kiwi line up will be an added advantage. His ten overs may make or break the game .He is Willy operator and will love to tease and torment his known foes. At MCG quality spinners’ always have some purchase. In what probably will be his last appearance Vittori will do everything possible to make it a memorable last time.
Both the teams have their extra motivation. Australian comrades will ove to dedicate the match to their deceased mate Phil Hughes who collapsed and expired from a strike on the head from an Abbott bouncer. Kiwis will dedicate the match to their living legend Martin Crowe now counting his days in cancer.
Many thought it would either be India Australia or Australia South Africa final at MCG before the tournament started .But playing high quality consistent cricket New Zealand has advanced to the final for the first time in their cricket history. Let the better team of the day win. Whoever wins English queen who is the queen of Australia and New Zealand will smile. After several years for the first time no team from Asia is featuring in Cricket World Cup final. Will it be record penta for Aussies or will Kiwis fly to their maiden championship only after 16 hours we all win know. Weather promises to be bright and sunny at Melbourne today.
Great Martin Crowe has travelled to MCG to grace MCG the last time .Let the icon be honored with the responsibility of handing over the trophy to the winning captain instead of controversial person.