World Cup 2015: Michael Clarke dedicates win to Phillip Hughes

Cricket World Cup 2015: Michael Clarke dedicates win to Phillip Hughes

Captain Michael Clarke dedicated Australia's fifth World Cup title to his former team-mate Phillip Hughes.

Batsman Hughes died at the age of 25 after being struck on the neck by a bouncer in Sydney in November.

"I'm sure everybody on this stage will say we played this World Cup with 16 players," said Clarke after his team's seven-wicket win over New Zealand.

"Hughesy used to party as good as any of them so I guarantee we'll celebrate hard tonight."

After Australia bowled out New Zealand for 183, Clarke led from the front with 74 as the hosts knocked off the runs in 33.1 overs at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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Clarke, who read a moving eulogy at Hughes's funeral, batted with a black armband carrying the player's initials in his final one-day international.

"As you can see it's got PH on it. I'll wear it every game I play for Australia," added Clarke.

"I think for everybody in Australian cricket it's been really tough few months. Tonight is certainly dedicated to our little brother and our team-mate Phillip Hughes."

Paceman Mitchell Starc set the tone for a blistering bowling performance in the first over of the match when he bowled opposing captain Brendon McCullum.

Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner weighed in with three wickets apiece as the Kiwis were bowled out in 45 overs.

Phillip Hughes
Phillip Hughes played 26 Tests and 25 one-day internationals for Australia

"I think our bowlers have won us the World Cup," said Clarke. "I think our batters have stood up and grabbed their opportunities, but I think our bowling performances in every single game have been exceptional, probably none better than today."

David Warner cracked 45 at the top of the Aussie order before Clarke and Steve Smith (56 not out) steered the them to a comfortable win to the delight of a record 93,000 crowd.

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"We're really proud, it's a wonderful achievement," added Clarke.

"It's a great thing just to make a World Cup final, but to be able to win in your own back yard in front of your family and friends is extremely special."

Co-hosts New Zealand were competing in their first final but had won all eight of their matches to reach the showpiece.

Michael Clarke in numbers
Date of birth: 2 April, 1981ODIs: 245
Runs: 7,981Average: 44.58
Highest score: 130100s: 8

"The New Zealand team deserve a lot of credit," said Clarke. "They're always a tough team to beat it seems in any sporting event. Australia v New Zealand is always an exciting contest and tonight was no different."

On his future, Clarke added: "It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my country in both Test and one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket.

"The time is right for me to walk away from one-day cricket, but I'll keep playing Test cricket."

Player of the tournament Mitchell Starc

"I think we've watched McCullum a fair bit through the tournament be pretty destructive. He's been a key player for them right from the beginning, and he's been fantastic for the Kiwis to get them off to great starts.

"I think after that game in New Zealand we knew we had to sort of assess him as he went because he's very unpredictable. I think personally it was a bit of a planning game with Craig McDermott about just bowling pace and yorkers to him first up, and I'm not sure how that first one missed, but lucky the third one hit. There's a lot of luck involved, but just nice to see that plan come off."

Australia batsman Steve Smith

"I thought it was a fitting farewell for Pup (Michael Clarke). I wish he was there with me at the end.

"We said we wanted to play our best game at the end of the tournament and to win it three down is unbelievable."

Opener Aaron Finch

"You always dream about this as a kid and for it to finally happen, especially at the MCG, is amazing. When you get in a tournament it's all about peaking at the right time, and the way we've played today has been a credit to everybody."

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