The final will be a lot about Michel Clarke vs Brendon McCullum as captains    Getty Images
The final will be a lot about Michel Clarke vs Brendon McCullum as captains Getty Images

Melbourne: The Trans-Tasman rivalry will chart new territory as Australia (AUS) take on New Zealand (NZ) in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. It is fair to say that the co-hosts have been the best teams of the tournament and that it is fitting that they will battle it out for the crown. SCORECARD: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Final Australia (AUS) vs New Zealand (NZ) at Melbourne

For New Zealand, it is a historic moment as they play their first-ever World Cup final, while Australia play their seventh. In this tournament, they have faced each other during the group game, when New Zealand won a close contest at Auckland. Things are very different now as the trophy is at stake. READ: New Zealand dream of toppling Australia in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final

At the outset, a lot of the talk has been about the size of the MCG. Most of the playing areas in New Zealand are small and someone like a Brendon McCullum has used it to good effect. How will New Zealand cope with the big outfield at the MCG? McCullum is not too worried about it. Yeah, obviously it’s got a different look to it. We’ve played on grounds all over the world. If you look at Abu Dhabi and the Emirates, that’s a big ground as well. Obviously doesn’t have the same amphitheater that obviously the MCG presents, but I think boundary size it’s bigger, he said on the eve of the game.

On the other hand, Australia will back their strengths in familiar conditions to come out on top in this contest. Australia vs New Zealand 2015 World Cup final: Indian cricket fans to support Blackcaps

New Zealand would be led by McCullum s aggression at the top and his tactical brilliance, which has been on show in this World Cup. Yeah, I’m not planning on changing. I’ll stick to the same, the same aggression. It would be a bit silly to change, wouldn’t it? We’ll have a go, McCullum said when he was asked if he would change his approach to the game.

Thus, expect McCullum to go in with the same aggressive streak. Martin Guptill will be at the other end, who would be relatively calmer, but has the power to make an impact.

New Zealand s middle-order has also looked in good shape with a few recent performances and are not entirely dependent on McCullum. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson form the core with Grant Elliott, the latest hero, coming into the mix. Luke Ronchi is a good power hitter in the middle along with the dashing Corey Anderson.

New Zealand s bowling would be led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who have been magnificent in 2015World Cup. Matt Henry walked into the side after Adam Milne was injured and brings pace to the table. Daniel Vettori s calming presence brings great value and he will tie up the runs. The only worry for New Zealand is the fifth bowling option, which has caused them a few problems in this tournament.

Coming to Australia, they have a balanced side with a lot of depth. Aaron Finch is back in touch after a lean period and forms an aggressive opening partnership with David Warner. Steven Smith is utilised at No. 3, where he continues to milk runs. Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson add power to the middle with James Faulkner being the floater. The more senior players such as Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin are often left with little to do as the others steal the limelight.

Australia s pace attack comprising Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood has a dangerous look to it. Starc is perhaps the most dangerous weapon given his current form and Johnson has also picked up. They do not have a specialist spinner, but Faulkner s teasing bowling and Glenn Maxwell s off-spin makes up for it. Watson can also roll his arm over.

Keeping the on-field matters aside, there are a few factors why this game is more interesting. Clarke and Vettori play their final One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and would be looking to finish their career on a high. While Australia will play in the memory of Phillip Hughes, who passed away last year, New Zealand are buoyed by the presence of Martin Crowe, who said it may be the last time he watches a game. These emotional factors add more to this game on the biggest stage. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final could be the last match I see, says Martin Crowe

Picking a winner is not an easy task, but Australia may have the upper hand as they know the conditions and have a better measure of them. But, this New Zealand side has mettle under the leadership of McCullum. The MCG braces for a good fight between the two rivals.

Squads:

Australia: Michael Clarke (c), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Pat Cummins, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (c), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi (wk), Daniel Vettori, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Nathan McCullum, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills.

Time: 09:00 IST | 03:30 GMT

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)