Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], November 18 (ANI): Australia will be eyeing for their sixth ICC Cricket World Cup title win when they lock horns with India in the final at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
Aussies, who won their first-ever World Cup title in 1987, cemented themselves as the most dominant force in cricket history with a hat-trick of World Cup title wins in 1999, 2003 and 2007, all away from home. Though the team's form dropped off in the next decade of the 2010s, the Aussies peaked at a perfect time to win the 2015 title, their first-ever at home.
Australia's victory in the 1987 final against arch-rivals England saw them conquer the cricketing world in tough Indian subcontinent conditions. Australia has featured in seven World Cup finals so far, winning five. However, the mighty Aussies have not been as dominant in the subcontinent. In the 1996 final against Sri Lanka at Lahore, Australia registered a loss. Their next subcontinent World Cup outing in 2011 saw them crash out in the quarterfinals after a loss to India.
Let us look at Australia's performances in Cricket World Cup finals:-1975 World Cup final against West Indies at LondonIn the final of the inaugural Cricket World Cup, met the cricket's two biggest powerhouses at Lord's. WI was put to bat first and scored 291/8 in 60 overs, with skipper Clive Llyod (102 in 85 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes) leading from the front. Gary Gilmour (5/48) took a five-wicket haul. In the chase of 292 runs, skipper Ian Chappell (62 in 93 balls, with six fours) and Alan Turner (40 in 54 balls, with four boundaries) delivered standout performances, but fell short by 17 runs, bundled out for 274. Keith Boyce took a four-wicket haul for the Windies.
-1987 Cricket World Cup final against England in KolkataThe Ashes rival played at a much more colourful and different setting in India. But the stadium was packed to watch the two cricket superpowers live. David Boon (75 in 125 balls, with seven fours) and Mike Veletta (45 in 31 balls) helped Australia post 253/6 in their 50 overs.
Thanks to fine performances by Bill Athey (58 in 103 balls, with two fours), skipper Mike Gatting (41 in 45 balls, with three fours and a six) and Allan Lamb (45 in 55 balls with four boundaries), it seemed England could win, but Aussie bowlers held their nerves to restrict England to 246/8, leaving them short by seven runs.
-1996 Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka in LahoreSri Lanka put the Aussies to bat first. Skipper Mark Taylor (74 in 83 balls, with eight fours and a six) and an up-and-coming Ricky Ponting (45 in 73 balls, with two fours) were the top two scores that guided Australia to a fighting 241/7 in 50 overs. Aravinda de Silva took 3/42.
In the chase of 242, Lanka's fiery opening duo of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana was dismissed quickly, leaving them at 23/2. But a brilliant effort from middle-order, Asanka Gurusinha (65 in 99 balls, with seven fours and a six), Aravinda de Silva (107 in 124 balls with 13 fours) and skipper Arjuna Ranatunga (47 in 37 balls, with four boundaries and a six) guided SL to a seven-wicket win with 22 balls left.
-1999 Cricket World Cup final against Pakistan in LondonAt the 'Home of Cricket', that is the Lord's stadium, brilliant spells by Glenn McGrath (2/13) and Shane Warne (4/32) bundled out Pakistan for just 132 in 39 overs. Australia chased it down quickly, with knocks coming from Adam Gilchrist (54 in 36 balls, eight fours and a six) and Mark Waugh (37 in 52 balls, with four boundaries) that guided the Aussies to an easy eight-wicket win.
-2003 Cricket World Cup final against India at JohannesburgIn the final at a packed Johannesburg, Australians did not offer a minute of respite after being put to bat first. Adam Gilchrist (57) and Matthew Hayden (37) laid the foundation for a big score with their century stand. After getting them both, India was hit by a barrage of fours and sixes by skipper Ricky Ponting (140 in 121 balls, with four boundaries and eight sixes) and Damien Martyn (88 in 84 balls, with seven fours and a six). Australia scored 359/2 in 50 overs.
In chase of 360, the Aussies got the big wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for just four runs. Sachin's wicket, dimmed the hopes of millions of Indians. Except for Virender Sehwag (82) and skipper Sourav Ganguly (47), all the big guns failed and Men in Blue was bundled out for 234, losing by 125 runs.
-2007 Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka at BridgetownAustralia was given a chance to make it a hat-trick of World Cup titles and Men in Yellow grabbed it with both hands. Australia made 281/4 in a 38-over-per-side match due to rain, with explosive wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist (149 in 104 balls with 13 fours and eight sixes) top-scoring for Aussies.
In the chase of 282, Sri Lanka's pursuit for the cup was boosted by fifties from Sanath Jayasuriya (63 in 67 balls, with eight fours) and Kumar Sangakkara (54 in 52 balls with six fours and a six). None of the other batters stepped up, despite the target being revised to 269 in 36 overs. SL ended with 215/8 in their 36 overs. Michael Clarke (2/33) was the top wicket-taker for the Aussies.
-2015 Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand at MelbourneKiwis opted to bat first against four-time champions at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The fall of an in-form, attacking skipper Brendon McCullum for a duck proved to be catastrophic for NZ and they could not recover from it. Grant Elliott (83 in 82 balls, with seven fours and a six) scored most of the runs as NZ was skittled out for 183 in 45 overs.
James Faulkner (3/36) and Mitchell Johnson (3/30) led the Australian bowling with their fiery spells. Australia chased down the total with easy, with skipper Michael Clarke (74 in 72 balls, with 10 fours and a six) and Steve Smith (56 in 71 balls, with three fours) posting fifties. Australia won by seven wickets with more than 16 overs left. (ANI)