Cullum vs Clarke: Who is ready to rule the one-day world?

March 27, 2015 | 12:23 PM | 97 Views

Finally we are about to find out who is the best one-day  team in the world. Australia and New Zealand are about to fight it out like brothers in their own backyard. When you play hard backyard cricket against your brothers it can get nasty. The most memorable sporting event between these two countries was on the MCG - the infamous underarm delivery. Hopefully memories of this final will eclipse that. So who has the momentum? The belief? When you look back to past finals, there is a moment where the game is won or lost. In cricket, it generally tends to come down to fielding mistakes. Ask Pakistan and South Africa where they lost knockout games in this World Cup and they will tell you. It always comes back to fielding. Defence in finals is everything.

                                            We just have to look at Dale Steyn's delivery that got hit for six to give New Zealand victory over South Africa in their semi-final. Even the great Steyn found the pressure too much when he bowled a ball right in the slot on a length, instead of a yorker at the stumps. Finals have a way of finding weaknesses  and if you have any weakness in your game, the MCG will find it quicker than most other grounds. The MCG offers only 37 per cent of its runs in boundaries -  the smallest percentage for any ground in the world. This is the first time in this World Cup that the Kiwis have played away from home, so will they have to change their game plan? They score a lot of their runs in boundaries. Well they won't get away with it at the MCG. From the past 11 matches played at the 'G, the team batting first has won eight. The highest successful run chase in 143 one-day internationals is 297. One thing going for the Kiwis is that five of them played at the MCG in 2009 when they defeated Australia - the last time the teams played an ODI in Australia. There are some interesting questions about this New Zealand team. Will Brendon McCullum think he can get away pulling and hooking like he does back home? Will Michael Clarke tempt McCullum to go after Glenn Maxwell? Records tell us that Martin Guptill struggles against Australia, where he averages 22. Kane Williamson is not quite in the groove in this World Cup, although Australia has yet to dismiss him in an ODI. And Ross Taylor has had a mediocre World Cup by his standards. If Australia win, they will have won 18 of their past 21 ODIs and that's something no other Australian team  has done.

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