Over the last few weeks, Australia and New Zealand have co-hosted what has turned out to be the highest-scoring cricket world cup ever, in a one-day environment in which 300 now regarded as average score and 350 not insurmountable. It’s thus appropriate that the two teams who most vividly exemplify both the raw power and relentless innovation of modern batting, Australia and New Zealand, will face off in a final to be savoured.

In chasing down nearly 300 against a luckless South Africa, the New Zealand players demonstrated their batting depth and fearlessness under pressure; Australia’s 328 against India was notable for the feeling that it should have been a lotmore. But both sides boast outstanding bowlers — Tim Southee and Trent Boult for the Kiwis, and Mitchell Johnson and the emerging fast bowling star Mitchell Starc for the locals — who are capable of destroying quality sides.

Naturally Crikey dearly wishes for an Australian win, but with one caveat. We’ve watched Daniel Vettori since he first toured Australia as a long-haired teenager in the mid-1990s, and we’ve always been a fan of his wily left-arm spin and clever batting. He’s been an adornment to the game, and it would only be fitting if he could help the Kiwis engineer an historic triumph to cap his career.

Still, hard to go past Australia, especially with Stephen Smith, who after last night apparently possesses super-hearing, in such extraordinary form. Go the green and gold.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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