Clarke dedicates victory to Hughes
Captain Michael Clarke dedicated Australia’s fifth World Cup title to his former team-mate Phillip Hughes.
Batsman Hughes died at the age of 25 after being struck on the neck by a bouncer in Sydney in November.
“I’m sure everybody on this stage will say we played this World Cup with 16 players,” said Clarke after his team’s seven-wicket win over New Zealand.
“Hughesy used to party as good as any of them so I guarantee we’ll celebrate hard tonight.”
After Australia bowled out New Zealand for 183, Clarke led from the front with 74 as the hosts knocked off the runs in 33.1 overs at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Phillip Hughes played 26 Tests and 25 one-day internationals for Australia
Clarke, who read a moving eulogy at Hughes’s funeral, batted with a black armband carrying the player’s initials in his final one-day international,
“As you can see it’s got PH on it. I’ll wear it every game I play for Australia,” added Clarke.
“I think for everybody in Australian cricket it’s been really tough few months. Tonight is certainly dedicated to our little brother and our team-mate Phillip Hughes.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke fights back tears at Phillip Hughes’s funeral
Paceman Mitchell Starc set the tone for a blistering bowling performance in the first over of the match when he bowled opposing captain Brendon McCullum.
Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner weighed in with three wickets apiece as the Kiwis were bowled out in 45 overs.
David Warner cracked 45 at the top of the Aussie order before Clarke and Steve Smith (56 not out) steered the them to a comfortable win to the delight of a record 93,000 crowd.
“We’re really proud, it’s a wonderful achievement,” added Clarke.
“It’s a great thing just to make a World Cup final, but to be able to win in your own back yard in front of your family and friends is extremely special and I guarantee we’ll celebrate hard tonight.”
Co-hosts New Zealand were competing in their first final but had won all eight of their matches to reach the showpiece.
“The New Zealand team deserve a lot of credit,” said Clarke. “They’re always a tough team to beat it seems in any sporting event. Australia v New Zealand is always an exciting contest and tonight was no different.”
On his future, Clarke added: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to represent my country in both Test and one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket.
“The time is right for me to walk away from one-day cricket, but I’ll keep playing Test cricket.”