That’s for Phil, says Clarke after Australia lift World Cup trophy

Australian captain Michael Clarke holds the trophy aloft with his teammates. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australian captain Michael Clarke holds the trophy aloft with his teammates. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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Australia captain Michael Clarke dedicated his side’s World Cup success to his former team-mate Phillip Hughes.

Clarke led his side to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, scoring 74 as he bowed out of one-day cricket in style.

The 33-year-old said the win was dedicated to Hughes, who died aged 25 in November after being struck on the head by a bouncer.

Speaking about the black armband he was wearing on his left arm, Clarke said: “As you can see it’s got PH on it. I’ll wear it every game I play for Australia.

“I think for everybody in Australian cricket it’s been really tough few months.

“I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself, I’m sure everybody standing on this stage tonight will say that we’ve played this World Cup with 16 players and tonight is certainly dedicated to our little brother and our team-mate Phillip Hughes.

“Hughes used to party as good as any of them so I’ll make sure we drink two (beers) at a time tonight, one for Hughesy and one for us.”

Clarke, who struck 10 fours and one maximum off 72 balls, and Steve Smith (56 not out) put on a third-wicket partnership of 112 as the hosts made light work of reaching their 184-run target with 101 balls remaining.

Grant Elliott had earlier top-scored with 83 off 82 balls for New Zealand, but his team-mates only managed to muster 100 further runs between them as a powerplay began their collapse in the 36th over and they lost three wickets for just one run.

Clarke said: “We’re really proud, it’s a wonderful achievement. 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 and I guarantee we’ll celebrate hard tonight.

“Obviously I’m over the moon. What a tournament.

“The New Zealand team deserve a lot of credit . 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.”

Clarke, who announced his retirement from one-day cricket on Saturday, praised the fans and his team for getting them through to the final.

He added: “To the Australian fans, to all the fans of the game of cricket, I think it’s been an amazing turnout this tournament. To the support we’ve had over the tournament, thanks to every Australian and cricket supporter out there. Thanks, most importantly to that amazing team including support staff. I couldn’t have asked any more than for the support I’ve received since coming back into the team.

“The way they’ve stood up and played they certainly deserve to stand here tonight and hold that trophy up.”

Sheffield’s Richard Kettleborough was one of the on-field umpires. He stood alongside alongside Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena.