Cricket Expert & Columnist
Nasser Hussain hails Australia's World Cup win and reflects on the tournament
'Attacking batsmen, playing fearless cricket, led by fearless captains'
Last Updated: 30/03/15 6:10am
Nasser Hussain called Australia deserved winners of the World Cup after their seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the final at the MCG.
He reserved special praise for Australia's departing captain Michael Clarke, who hit 74 in his final ODI, and Mitchell Starc - who made the crucial breakthrough with the wicket of Brendan McCullum in the first over.
Among other things, Nasser also reflected on the tournament as a whole, a growing gap between Australia and the rest, and the home side's win after a difficult summer off the field with the passing of Philip Hughes.
"Today was about handling pressure and Starc comfortably handled it, getting New Zealand’s gun player out.
"It was a completely convincing performance from Australia - batting, bowling and fielding. Everything was absolutely outstanding.
"As a neutral, we'd have liked a closer game, but the moment Starc bowled that first over, he set the tone.
"Home advantage helped. Having said that, the margin of victory confirms that Australia were the better side, the best side in the tournament, and they deserve to win the World Cup."
A GAP GROWING FROM THE REST
"Look at the template from these two sides in the final - attacking batsmen, playing fearless cricket, led by fearless captains.
"They've got wicket-taking bowlers, athletic fielders, six-hitters. They and the other two semi-finalists - South Africa and India - are miles better than the rest.
"Sri Lanka might argue that point, with a few injuries this tournament."
"It was special for the crowd to see Clarke walk off on his own. Yes, it would have been nice for him to have been there to win it at the end, but his wicket also gave him his moment.
"The whole 90-odd thousand crowd appreciated what Australia's captain has done. Not only on the field, but what he has done off the field.
"He's been an ambassador for Australian cricket. He's not always had the Australian public behind him, but he's gone up in a lot of people's estimations. And he showed he's a pretty good player too."
ON THE CAPTAIN'S TRIBUTE TO HUGHES
"I had to have my headphones on because the roar was so loud, the emotion was incredible.
"They've always thought about Philip Hughes. It's still very raw to the team. A lot of that has carried them through, given them perspective.
"Clarke, throughout this tournament, has said 'boys, it's just another game of cricket'. Today was no different, it was a World Cup final, but they treated it as just another game of cricket."
ON THE WORLD CUP
"This tournament was incredibly important for one-day cricket. The thrill and enjoyment had gone out of it, there were so many dull periods of play with teams just waiting for the last 5-10 overs.
"That has long gone now because of 20-over cricket. People realise that, on good pitches, 50 overs isn't a long time and you can go big, earlier.
"And the bowling - even though everyone thought it would just be a run fest - Mitchell Starc getting his wickets at 10 apiece, on drop-in pitches, is quite remarkable.
"I think it has been too long - I don't think any tournament should be more than four weeks because people lose interest - but as a spectacle, with the talent on show, good pitches, good weather, good cricketers, it has worked."