Cricket World Cup: New Zealand defeat a turning point - Clarke

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Sydney
Michael Clarke
Clarke made 10 in the semi-final against India before he was dismissed by Mohit Sharma

Australia captain Michael Clarke says losing to New Zealand in the group stage of the World Cup was a "kick up the backside" his team needed.

Clarke's side lost by one wicket to the Black Caps but will meet them in Sunday's final after a 95-run semi-final win against India.

"That was our turning point in this tournament," said batsman Clarke, 33.

"Our attitude from that day has been exceptional. It gave us a kick up the backside."

Australia were bowled out for 151 in Auckland on 28 February, but fought back to such an extent that New Zealand's Kane Williamson had only last man Trent Boult for company when he hit a six to seal victory.

The Kiwis are unbeaten, having played all of their matches in New Zealand. Now they must travel to Melbourne for the final.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC TMS:
"The best two teams have reached the final, with the best two captains in the tournament and the best two bowling attacks. Sunday will be some occasion. When you look at this Australia team and where they can improve you are properly being picky because they are very good. If I'm New Zealand, I would be thinking if the ball is swinging around the Aussie batting is vulnerable. They can give you wickets by being aggressive - we saw that in the pool stage against New Zealand. The toss is crucial at the MCG [in the final]. The teams batting first get the big score and pretty much end the game. But I still think New Zealand will win this World Cup. Brendon McCullum is taking his team into a different, positive world."

"The fact the conditions are different will certainly help us," said 33-year-old Clarke. "But we're going to have to play our best cricket.

"New Zealand have been the form team of the competition and they certainly deserve to be in the final."

Australia's victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground came as they bowled out India for 233 after posting 328-7.

That effort with the bat was underpinned by a century from Steve Smith, but his wicket began a slide of four wickets for 51 runs that prevented the hosts from reaching an even bigger score.

"I did think 320 was enough, but I thought our bowlers had to execute very well," said Clarke, who was part of the Australia team that won the World Cup in 2007.

"No matter how many runs we scored, we were going to try and bowl India out. I think that was a fantastic performance."

Michael Clarke (centre) walks across the SCG pitch as his team-mates celebrate
Michael Clarke (centre) will lead Australia in their seventh World Cup final on Sunday

The final in Melbourne will be the last match of an Australian summer that saw the death of batsman Phillip Hughes in December.

Clarke, who gave a eulogy at Hughes's funeral, has struggled for fitness and has seen his position as captain come under scrutiny after Smith led the team to a Test series victory over India in his absence.

"It would be extremely special to win on Sunday, there's no doubt about it," said Clarke.

"At the start of the tournament there was a lot of expectation and pressure put onto this team, the fact we were playing in our own back yard.

"If our attitude doesn't change and we stay as focused as we've been since that loss against New Zealand, I'm confident we can win this World Cup."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

Past World Cup finals
1975Lord's, EnglandWest Indies defeated Australia by 17 runs
1979Lord's, EnglandWest Indies defeated England by 92 runs
1983Lord's EnglandIndia defeated West Indies by 43 runs
1987Eden Gardens, IndiaAustralia defeated England by 7 runs
1992Melbourne Cricket Ground, AustraliaPakistan defeated England by 22 runs
1996Gaddafi Stadium, PakistanSri Lanka defeated Australia by 7 wickets
1999Lord's EnglandAustralia defeated Pakistan by 8 wickets
2003Wanderers, South AfricaAustralia defeated India by 125 runs
2007Kensington Oval, BarbadosAustralia defeated Sri Lanka by 53 runs
2011Wankhede Stadium, IndiaIndia defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets

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