World Cup

Cricket World Cup 2015: Australia Lift their Fifth World Cup

The International Cricket Council (ICC) hosts the Cricket World Cup, a quadrennial One Day International (ODI) cricket competition in which men’s national teams compete. In 2015, the ICC hosted the 11th edition of this pinnacle tournament.

From February 14 to March 29, 2015, Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted it. The competition was hosted for the second time in Australia and New Zealand, the previous being the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Now, let’s see how the 2015 Cricket World Cup progressed.

The Build-Up

Format

The format was the same as in the 2011 edition, with 14 teams divided into 2 groups of 7. The 7 teams played each other once before the top 4 teams from each group qualified for the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinals further proceeded to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners then clashed in the tournament finals.

Venues

7 venues each from Australia and New Zealand hosted the World Cup matches. The 7 Australian venues hosted 26 matches, while the 7 venues in New Zealand hosted 23 matches. Auckland in New Zealand and Sydney in Australia played host to the 2 semi-finals and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Australia was the host for the finals.

Teams

This event included 14 national cricket teams, including 10 full members and 4 associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC). 

  • Australia
  • England 
  • India, 
  • New Zealand 
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Indies
  • Zimbabwe
  • Bangladesh
  • Afghanistan
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Favourites

The host countries, Australia and New Zealand, were the favourites for this World Cup.

2015 World Cup Group Matches

Match 1: February 14 | New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

In the opening match, New Zealand faced off against Sri Lanka in Christchurch. Batting first, New Zealand scored 331/6 in 50 overs. In response, Sri Lanka could only muster 233 runs before being bowled out, and New Zealand won by 98 runs.

Match 2: February 14 | Australia vs England

After a tumbling start, Aaron Finch’s 135 runs took Australia’s total to 342/9. Then Mitchell Marsh’s 5-fer wiped off England’s batting lineup for 231 runs, and Australia won by 111 runs.

Match 3: February 15 | South Africa vs Zimbabwe

After losing 4 wickets under 85 runs, David Miller (138*) and Jean-Paul Duminy (115*) took the mantle in their hands and helped South Africa reach 339 runs. Both stitched together a partnership of 256 runs for the the 5th wicket. In response, Zimbabwe’s top order performed well, but once they were back in the pavilion, it was all over for them as South Africa won by 62 runs.

Match 4: February 15 | India vs Pakistan

The archrivals, India and Pakistan, met in the 4th match at the Adelaide Oval. Virat Kohli’s 107 runs drove India to a total of 300 runs. In response, Mohammed Shami’s 4-wicket haul restricted the Pakistani side to 224 runs, and India won by 76 runs.

Match 5: February 16 | Ireland vs West Indies

Ireland sprung a surprise in front of the cricket fans by defeating the giant West Indies. Batting first, the Windies scored 304 runs, thanks to vital contributions from Lendl Simmons (102) and Daren Sammy (89). In reply, the Irish team got off to a brilliant start with their top order scoring crucial runs, which helped them defeat the Windies by 4 wickets.

Match 6: February 17 | New Zealand vs Scotland

A clinical bowling effort from New Zealand helped them restrict Scotland to 142 runs. Later, the Scottish bowlers also made the chase a little difficult for the Kiwis by picking up 7 wickets, but in the end, New Zealand won the game by 3 wickets.

Match 7: February 18 | Afghanistan vs Bangladesh

Batting first, Bangladesh managed to score 267 against Afghanistan, which was playing in their very first match in the World Cup. But the debut outing wasn’t good for them, as Bangladesh bowled them out for 162 runs during the chase.

Match 8: February 19 | United Arab Emirates vs Zimbabwe

After being asked to bat first, the UAE posted a fighting total of 285/7 on the scoreboard. But they couldn’t defend the target effectively, and Zimbabwe chased it down in 48 overs with 4 wickets to spare.

Match 9: February 20 | New Zealand vs England

England elected to bat first; however, the decision didn’t materialise for them as they were bowled out for a mere 123 runs. Later, New Zealand chased down the target in 13 over with 8 wickets in hand.

Match 10: February 21 | Pakistan vs West Indies

Batting first, the Windies propelled to 310/6 with valuable contributions from every batter. In response, Pakistan’s top order failed miserably, which resulted in a loss of 150 runs.

Match 11: February 21 | Australia vs Bangladesh

The match was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Match 12: February 22 | Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka

After deciding to bowl first, Sri Lanka skittled Afghanistan for 232 runs. While chasing the target, Mahela Jayawardene’s 100 runs took Sri Lanka over the ropes with 4 wickets in hand.

Match 13: February 22 | India vs South Africa

Shikhar Dhawan’s 137 helped India post 307/7 on the scoreboard. Then a collective bowling effort from India restricted the Proteas to 177, and India won by 130 runs.

Match 14: February 23 | England vs. Scotland

After being invited to bat first, England marched to 303 runs, thanks to Moeen Ali, who opened the innings for them and scored 128 runs. Except for Kyle Coetzer’s 71, no other Scottish batter put up a fight, and England won by 119 runs.

Match 15: February 24 | West Indies vs Zimbabwe

The match between the West Indies and Zimbabwe was a record-breaking affair. Universe Boss Chris Gayle became the first player to smash a double century in ODI World Cup history. Moreover, Gayle and Marlon Samuels stitched together 372 runs, making it the highest partnership in the 50-over tournament’s history. Coming to the match, the Windies posted 372/2 on the board, and in response, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 289 runs, resulting in the Windies winning the match by 73 runs.

Match 16: February 25 | Ireland vs United Arab Emirates

In an equally contested game between 2 associates, the UAE scored 278/9, largely thanks to Shaiman Anwar’s 106 runs off 83 balls. Later, the UAE’s bowlers put Ireland on their toes by picking up wickets at crucial points, but Ireland managed to win the game by 2 wickets.

Match 17: February 26 | Afghanistan vs Scotland

Afghanistan elected to bat first and bowled out Scotland for 210 runs. Then a thrilling chase unfolded as Afghanistan registered their first victory in the World Cup with 1 wicket in hand.

Match 18: February 26 | Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka

A staggering partnership of 210 runs between Tillakaratne Dilshan (161*) and Kumar Sangakkara (105*) powered Sri Lanka to post 332/1 on the board. In response, Bangladesh faltered on 240 runs, and Sri Lanka won by 92 runs.

Match 19: February 27 | South Africa vs West Indies

AB de Villiers’ fastest 150 knock (162* off 66) put South Africa in the driver’s seat against the Windies. The game saw two of the most expensive overs in World Cup history, bowled by Jason Holder against de Villiers’. The day completely belonged to the Proteas, as they bowled out the Windies for 151 runs and won by a huge margin of 257 runs.

Match 20: February 28 | New Zealand vs Australia

In a low-scoring thriller, New Zealand dismissed their trans-Tasman rivals Australia for 151 runs, with Trent Boult picking up 5/27. Later, the chase wasn’t that easy for New Zealand either, as they also lost wickets at regular intervals. But somehow they managed to pull off a win with 1 wicket to spare.

Match 21: February 28 | India vs United Arab Emirates

The UAE elected to bat first, but they couldn’t stand in front of the strong Indian bowling attack and were bundled out for 102 runs. The chase was rather easy for India, as they registered a victory by 9 wickets in hand.

Match 22: March 1 | England vs Sri Lanka

Joe Root’s 121 runs took England to a total of 309 runs. However, the target didn’t seem too big for Sri Lanka’s top-order batters as they cruised towards it with 9 wickets in hand.

Match 23: March 1 | Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Batting first, Pakistan posted a decent score of 235/7 on the board. In response, Zimbabwe looked to chase the target but fell short by 20 runs.

Match 24: March 3 | Ireland vs South Africa

After their emphatic batting display against the Windies the other day, South African batters again unleashed their wrath, but this time against the Irish bowlers. South Africa posted 411 runs on the scoreboard, riding on the back of Hashim Amla’s 159 and Faf du Plessis’ 109. In reply, Ireland’s lower order tried to put up a fight, but they could only muster 210 runs, and South Africa won by 201 runs.

Match 25: March 4 | Pakistan vs United Arab Emirates

A brilliant performance from Pakistan’s top and middle order helped them score 339 runs. In response, the UAE could only reach 210/8, resulting in Pakistan winning by 129 runs.

Match 26: March 4 | Australia vs Afghanistan

David Warner’s splendid 178 helped Australia post the then-highest team total in ODI World Cup history. The Aussies scored 417/6 in 50 overs. Later, Mitchell Johnson’s fiery spell of 4 wickets left Afghanistan batters bamboozled as they were skittled for 142 runs and Australia won by 275 runs.

Match 27: March 5 | Bangladesh vs Scotland

In a high-scoring affair, Scotland posted 318/8, riding on the back of Kyle Coetzer’s 156 runs. While chasing the huge target, Bangladesh overcame the target in the 49th over and registered a victory by 6 wickets.

Match 28: March 6 | India vs West Indies

Batting first, the Windes mustered only 182 runs in front of a fierce Indian bowling attack. While defending the target, the Windies bowlers had India in a tough spot, but India anyway won the match by 4 wickets.

Match 29: March 7 | Pakistan vs South Africa

In a truncated game, Pakistan managed to score 222 runs in 46.4 overs (47 overs). It looked like South Africa would chase down the target considering their strong batting lineup, but they could reach 202/10, and Pakistan won by 29 runs.

Match 30: March 7 | Ireland vs Zimbabwe

In a closely contested game, Ireland posted 331/8 on the board, thanks to Ed Joyce’s 112 runs. While chasing, Zimbabwe lost a bunch of wickets earlier, but captain Brendan Taylor (121) and Sean Williams (96) pulled them out of the tricky situation, but Zimbabwe’s lower order succumbed to pressure in the end, and Ireland won a thrilling game by 5 runs.

Match 31: March 8 | New Zealand vs Afghanistan

Batting first, Afghanistan could only put 186 runs on the scoreboard. In response, the Kiwis chased down the target in 37 overs with 6 wickets in hand.

Match 32: March 8 | Australia vs Sri Lanka

Glenn Maxwell’s quickfire 102 runs off 53 balls took Australia’s total to 376 runs in 50 overs. Despite Kumar Sangakkara’s 104, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 312 runs, and Australia won by 64 runs.

Match 33: March 9 | Bangladesh vs England

In a surprising outing for England in the 2015 edition, Bangladesh defeated them by 15 runs. Batting first, Bangladesh posted a competitive total of 275 runs on the board, thanks to Mahmudullah’s 103 runs. While chasing, England lost a bunch of wickets in the middle overs, and their lower order was put under immense pressure, resulting in Bangladesh’s victory.

Match 34: March 10 | India vs Ireland

Batting first, Ireland mustered to put 259 runs on the board. Later, Shikhar Dhawan’s 100 paved India’s way to chase the target with 8 wickets in hand.

Match 35: March 11 | Scotland vs Sri Lanka

Tillakaratne Dilshan (104) and Kumar Sangakkara (124) put on a 195-run partnership for the 2nd wicket and took Sri Lanka’s total to 363. In response, Scotland was skittled for 215 runs, and Sri Lanka won by 148 runs.

Match 36: March 12 | South Africa vs United Arab Emirates

Batting first, South Africa hammered 341/6 runs on the board. Later, the UAE was bowled out for 195 runs, and South Africa won by 146 runs.

Match 37: March 13 | New Zealand vs Bangladesh

Mahmudullah’s 128 runs helped Bangladesh post 288/7 on the scoreboard in 50 overs. However, the total wasn’t enough, as Martin Guptill’s 105 played a pivotal role in New Zealand’s 3-wicket victory.

Match 38: March 13 | Afghanistan vs England

When Afghanistan was 111/7 in 36.2 overs, rain interrupted the game. When the game resumed, England was set a target of 101 runs in 25 overs, which they chased easily with 9 wickets in hand.

Match 39: March 14 | India vs Zimbabwe

Brendan Taylor’s 138 powered Zimbabwe to a competitive total of 287 runs in 48.5 overs. In response, India struggled a bit in the chase, but Suresh Raina (110*) and MS Dhoni (85*) took India over the winning line with 6 wickets to spare.

Match 40: March 14 | Australia vs Scotland

The strong Australian bowling attack bowled out Scotland for 130 runs. Later, Australia chased down the target in 16 overs with 7 wickets to spare.

Match 41: March 15 | United Arab Emirates vs West Indies

At one point, the UAE was on 46/6, but Amjad Javed (56) and Nasir Aziz (60) put up a fight and dragged their total to 175 runs. The chase was easy for the Windies, as they won the match by 6 wickets.

Match 42: March 16 | Ireland vs Pakistan

William Porterfield’s 104 runs helped Ireland reach a decent total of 237 runs. Later, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s unbeaten knock of 101 made sure Pakistan chased the target without any trouble.

Knockout Stage

1st Quarterfinal: March 18 | South Africa vs Sri Lanka

In a one-sided affair, Sri Lanka was bowled out for a mere 133 runs. The chase was rather easy for South Africa, as they thrashed the target in 19 overs and won the match by 9 wickets.

2nd Quarterfinal: March 19 | Bangladesh vs India

In a splendid batting display, India cruised to post 302, thanks to Rohit Sharma’s 137-run knock. Later, India bowled out Bangladesh for 193 runs and won the match by 109 runs.

3rd Quarterfinal: Australia vs Pakistan

Pakistan’s batting was no challenge to the Australian bowling attack, and they bundled them out for 213 runs. In response, Australia chased down the target with 6 wickets in hand.

4th Quarterfinal: New Zealand vs West Indies

Martin Guptill slammed the highest individual score in ODI World Cup history. This knock of 237* came against the Windies in an important match that secured their spot in the semifinals. New Zealand posted 393 runs, batting first. While chasing the mammoth target, the Windies reached 250, and New Zealand won by 143 runs.

1st Semi-Final: March 24 | New Zealand vs South Africa

With the score at 31/2, AB de Villiers’ team needed a partnership, and Faf du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw delivered, raising the score to 114 before Rossouw was beautifully caught by Martin Guptill off the bowling of Corey Anderson. Then rain disrupted the game in the 30th over when South Africa was on 216/3.

The match was then reduced to 43 overs, and South Africa reached 281/5, but the target was recalculated for New Zealand to 298 using the Duckworth-Lewis method.

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Brendan McCullum and Martin Guptill of New Zealand got off to a flying start, scoring 71 runs in the first 6 overs, with McCullum scoring 59 off 29 balls. Morne Morkel took a couple of wickets to end the good start, but Ross Taylor and Guptill put New Zealand back on top before the duo were out, and New Zealand had two fresh batsmen at the wicket with the total just above 150.

New Zealand appeared to be on their way to victory as Corey Anderson and Grant Elliot raised the score from 149 to 252 in just over 16 overs. Elliot’s six off Steyn’s penultimate ball propelled New Zealand to their first ICC Cricket World Cup Final.

2nd Semi-Final: March 26 | Australia vs India

After winning the toss in that match, Australia chose to bat first and scored 328 runs as a team. The strongest aspect of Australia’s innings, though, was the 182-run partnership between opener Aaron Finch and Steven Smith, which began after another opener, David Warner, left the game after only 15 runs. 

The target was not difficult for the Indian batsmen to chase down, but they failed to do so. Only the skipper of the Indian team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, appeared to have it that day to confront the Australian ballers, knowing that the match was already beyond their ability to save. He scored 65 runs off 65 balls, including 3 fours and 2 sixes. Australia went on to face fellow co-host New Zealand in the final.

Final: March 29 | Australia vs New Zealand

New Zealand won the toss and batted first. Mitchell Starc bowled Brendon McCullum on the sixth delivery of the opening over. When Martin Guptill’s wicket fell, New Zealand had made little headway and was 38 for 2 after 12 overs. Mitchell Johnson caught and bowled Kane Williamson for 12 runs in the following over

Then Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott partnered for 111 runs for the 4th wicket; however, once they lost Taylor on 150, the Kiwis fell like a pack of cards. At 183 all-out, New Zealand’s innings was over.

Australia’s start was as humiliating, with Aaron Finch caught and bowled for a duck by Trent Boult in the second over. Australia was 56 for 1 at the end of the 10th over, with David Warner on 39 and Steve Smith on 13.

Henry bowled Clarke out for 74 in the 32nd over, meaning that Australia now only needed 9 runs from 113 deliveries. Shane Watson came in to support Smith as he hit the game-winning stroke, a four against Henry off the first ball of the 34th over, to win by 7 wickets.

Special Moments in the World Cup of 2015

Smith’s Century in Semi-final

Steven Smith is the first Australian batsman to make a century in a World Cup semi-final match. He is the sixth batsman in team history to achieve this feat, behind Graham Gooch (115 against India in 1987), Saeed Anwar (113 against New Zealand in 1999), Sourav Ganguly (111 against Kenya in 2003), and Mahela Jayawardene (115 against New Zealand in 2007). 

Crowd Support

The total attendance was 1,016,420, with an average of 21,175 people attending per game. The final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground drew 93,013 spectators, a one-day cricket attendance record for Australia. The semi-final between Australia and India received the highest television rating in India, with 15% of television viewing households tuning in.

Kumar Sangakkara’s Four Hundreds in a Row

Sangakkara went on to make four consecutive hundreds in the competition, exemplifying consistency. The wicketkeeper-batsman started off with a stroke-filled 105 not out against Bangladesh in Melbourne, then hit a scorching 117 not out against England in Wellington, another gorgeous 124 against Scotland in Hobart, and a patient-looking 104 against Australia in Sydney.

Tim Southee’s 7-for-33 Performance

Tim Southee’s bowling performance ranks third in all World Cups, after only the great Glenn McGrath (7/14 against Namibia in 2003) and another Aussie, Andy Bichel (7/20 against England in 2003). It was also New Zealand’s finest individual ODI bowling effort, with Southee surpassing his bowling mentor Shane Bond’s 6/19 against India. He single-handedly demolished England’s batting order.

Final Thoughts

Since its inception in 1975, the Cricket World Cup has hosted some of the greatest cricket matches in history. Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, and the World Cup has provided many memorable moments for cricket fans throughout the years.

The Australians successfully imposed the ‘unfathomable enormity’ of Melbourne Cricket Ground in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final, defeating their neighbours for that historic haul of global titles. The Black Caps, while playing some fantastic cricket, were unable to withstand the strain of playing in front of a great crowd at the MCG and fell short of earning their first major title.

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