Cricket World Cup finals XI: Players who were outstanding on the day of finals
The two heroes of ICC World Cup 2011 (left) and 2015 — MS Dhoni and James Faulkner (right) © Getty Images

Australia were crowned winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It was also a day to remember for James Faulkner, who was named Man of the Match in the final. Who doesn’t like to perform when it matters the most? Nikhil Popat has a team of players who were outstanding on the day of finals.

In the game of cricket, it is always moments that change the game. On Sunday, when James Faulkner bowled a double wicket maiden in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final against New Zealand, it broke the game wide open for Australia. Over years there have been many such game changing performances in the finals of the World Cup. Let’s have a look at performances of the Man of the Matches in what is the best ICC World Cup final team. Read: Australia beat New Zealand in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Final, win World Cup for fifth time

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

The dominant Australian team of 2007 was rushing through sides and when they met Sri Lanka in the final of ICC Cricket World Cup, they were favourites too. Rain delayed the start of the final, but nothing stopped Gilchrist as he scored a rapid 104-ball 149 to set up a huge total.  Such was the magnitude of his hitting that in the 172-run opening stand, Mathew Hayden had just scored 38 runs. The game though was marred by a lot of confusion towards the end as it finished in dark, but there was nothing dark about Australia as they won their third World Cup title in a row. Read: ICC World Cup 2007 final – Adam Gilchrist illuminates a gloomy Kensington Oval

David Boon

When Australia won the toss and chose to bat in Reliance World Cup 1987, they might not have expected an easy start. However, the England bowlers did not start well and the Australian openers cashed in. The spinners did get them back but by that time, Boon had already made 75 and set the platform for a big total for Australia, thanks to Mike Veletta’s explosion down the order. Interestingly it was hit fifth score of 50 or more in six innings. It was also the game where the famous reverse-sweep from Mike Gatting cost England not just the game but also the World Cup as they lost it by just seven runs. Read: World Cup 1987 final – Australia lift maiden Trophy after Mike Gatting’s reverse-sweep

Ricky Ponting

India were having a dream 2003 ICC World Cup till they reached the final facing defending champions Australia. There was a lot of talk of aggression but when Australia won the toss and started batting, they were too hot to handle for India. The opening stand put 105 in just 14 overs when Ponting walked in. He lost Hayden soon but what followed was carnage. Along with Damien Martyn, Ponting took Australia to a mammoth total of 359/2. He scored 140 not out from just 121 balls hitting four fours and eight sixes to decimate the Indian bowling and set the game up for his team. Read: ICC World Cup 2003 final – Ricky Ponting-Damien Martyn show decimates India

Viv Richards

One of the greatest batsmen of all times, Richards showed his class and temperament in the 1979 Prudential World Cup Final. The defending champions had lost Gordon Greenidge early but King Viv, as they called him, did not spare the English at Lord’s as he scored a brilliant 138 in just 157 balls. Coming in at number three, he did saw wickets fall around him but he got good support in Collis King who scored a savage 86. He remained not out as West Indies finished with 286, and finished things off with an iconic lazy flick over the square-leg fence off Mike Hendrick.  Joel Garner did the rest with 5/38 to ensure West Indies defended their World Cup title following a bafflingly slow opening stand between Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott. Read: World 1979 Cup final – Viv Richards, Collis King and Joel Garner play pivotal roles in annihilating England

Aravinda de Silva

Australia had put up a good total on board. It could have been lot more had there not been a collapse. Australia were building up nicely for a huge total when Mark Taylor and Ponting were playing nicely. They were 137/1 in just the 27th over; things looked rather ominous for Sri Lanka. Enter de Silva. He had Taylor caught trying to sweep to break a century stand before bowling Ricky Ponting who was trying to cut him but missed. He returned to dismiss Ian Healy and took a couple of catches to ensure his team had restricted Australia to 241/7. Aravinda took 3/42 in his 9 overs, but if Australia thought they were done with him for the day, they were wrong. Sri Lanka were reduced to 23/2 when de Silva walked out; along with Asanka Gurusinha he stepped on the gas and took Sri Lanka to the target. Arjuna Ranatunga chipped in as well after Gurusinha got out. De Silva though was the hero of the day as he backed up his bowling with an unbeaten 107 which helped Sri Lanka win the 1995-96 Wills World Cup. Read: World Cup 1996 final – Aravinda de Silva helps Sri Lanka to achieve their finest day in cricket

Clive Lloyd (c)

In the 1975 Prudential World Cup, Australia put West Indies in and the ploy worked wonders as West Indies were reduced to 50/3. Enter Clive Lloyd; along with Rohan Kanai, the oldest man of the squad, he brought West Indies back in the game with a 149-run stand. Australia had an excellent fast bowling attack, but Lloyd put them to the sword, decimating the Australian bowlers with 102 from 85 balls — which was incredible given the standards of 1975. His innings set the game up for West Indies to win the first World Cup title. Read: World Cup 1975 final – Clive Lloyd’s heroic century tilts the scale in West Indies’s favour in a thrilling finale

MS Dhoni

India were hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India defeated Australia and Pakistan to meet Sri Lanka in the finals. Sri Lanka recovered brilliantly after early jolts thanks to the ton from Mahela Jayawardene. Dhoni had a lean ICC World Cup 2011 but cometh the hour, cometh the man, he promoted himself over the in-form Yuvraj Singh and scripted a fairytale win for India over neighbours Sri Lanka at Wankhede. Had the move not worked, one wonders what may have happened but it worked as he played a blinder scoring an unbeaten 91 from 79 balls. His six over long on won the World Cup for India after a wait of 28 long years. Read: ICC World Cup 2011 Final – Daring MS Dhoni masterminds India’s epic triumph over Sri Lanka

James Faulkner

In an attack that consisted of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, it was the canny bowling of Faulkner that won Australia their fifth World Cup title in 2015. New Zealand had recovered well after a stutter but when Faulkner came on to bowl in the Batting Powerplay, he dismissed a set Ross Taylor and the explosive Corey Anderson for a duck to bring his team back in the game.  The Kiwis were bundled out for 183 as he finished with figures of 9-1-36-3 and New Zealand sadly never recovered from it. Steve Smith and Michael Clarke scored fifties to see them home.

Mohinder Amarnath

India were put in to bat in the 1983 Prudential World Cup final by West Indies.  Andy Roberts led the charge with the ball with a 3/32 to bundle India out for a score of 183. Hopes were low for India and when the West Indian were 50/1 things started to look worse for India. Madan Lal had other ideas as he reduced them to 76/6 ending with 3/31. The finishing touch though was given by Mohinder, whose innocuous dibbly-dobblies got the better of the defending champions.  He took 3/12 (to go with 26 earlier in the day) to ensure West Indies did not get away and India won their first World Cup trophy. Read: 1983 Prudential World Cup final – How the magic unfolded at Lord’s to give India her greatest moment

Wasim Akram

In the Benson & Hedges World Cup final of 1992, a resurgent Pakistan team met England. Pakistan chose to bat, and there were some jitters when they were reduced to 24/2, but Imran Khan (72) and Javed Miandad (58) had them in the game as Pakistan finished with 249/6 at the end of 50 overs following some big hits at the end from Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wasim. Then Wasim led the charge: he first castled Botham for a duck; then, when Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother were building a partnership, Wasim returned for a spell and dismissed Lamb and disturbed Chris Lewis’ stumps off consecutive deliveries — both masterpieces — to reduce them to 180/7. That sealed the game for Pakistan; they won by 22 runs and lifted their first World Cup. Read: World Cup 1992 final – Imran Khan’s Pakistan on top Down Under

Shane Warne

In the 1999 ICC World Cup final, Australia were up against a formidable Pakistan team filled with several outstanding cricketers. Pakistan elected to bat; what followed was something they may have never thought of. They were reduced to 68/3, and any hopes of a resurrection were demolished by Shane Warne, who spun a web around them. He finished with 9-1-33-4 as Pakistan were bowled out for a mere 130.  Australia raced to the target in 20 overs with 8 wickets to spare. It was one of the most one-sided World Cup finals. Read: 1999 World Cup final – Australia steamroll Pakistan in lop-sided encounter at Lord’s

(Nikhil Popat is a cricket lover and a PotterHead, who loves to be himself. He can be followed on Twitter @CricCrazyNIKS)