With just a day left before the 2019 World Cup commences, all eyes are on the prize but least every nation forgets, Australia are the defending champions as they lifted the coveted trophy in 2015.
Under the guidance of Michael Clarke, Australia beat New Zealand to lift the World Cup a record fifth time. The 2015 WC gave us many moments to cherish and some to forget, it was a tournament where India entered as the defending champions but were knocked out in semifinals by hosts, Australia.
From Wahab Riaz's fierce spell against Australia in quarterfinals to South Africa's emotional defeat against New Zealand in the semifinals, the 2015 tournament stuck in every cricket lover's heart.
Here is the flashback of World Cup 2015 moments that remained forever in everyone's mind-
Virat Kohli master class century against Pakistan
Before entering the contest, there were lots of doubts on Indian team credibility about whether the Men in Blue will be able to manage their undefeated streak against arch-rivals Pakistan in WC and then one man rises above all- Virat Kohli. Arguably the best batsman of the modern era proved his value to the Indian team in group stage match against the Green Army at Adelaide. Kohli played a calm and composed knock of 107 in 126 balls which guided Indian to put 300 runs on the scoreboard. The rest of the destruction was done by the Indian bowlers who restricted Pakistan to just 224 and Men in Blue extend their winning streak to 6.
Wahab Riaz fierce spell against Shane Watson
Wahab Riaz made a special name for himself for his daunting spell against Australia in the quarterfinals of 2015 WC. Shane Watson was clearly Riaz's victim in the match who was pretty uncomfortable while facing the left-armer's bouncers. Pakistan put a moderate total of 213 on the scoreboard against hosts Australia in the do or die game of quarterfinals. Warner departed early for the Aussies but they had a complete hold over the match and then arrived Watson on the crease, who in his wildest dreams was not aware of Riaz's intentions. The Pakistan pacer gave his all to dismantle the Australia batting line-up but warrior Watson didn't let his guard down and Pakistan were eliminated from the tournament but Riaz won by hearts for his daring spell.
South Africa emotional exit from the tournament
The Proteas entered the 2015 event as one of the favourites and left the tournament with teary eyes. In a rain-affected match, New Zealand middle-order batsman Grant Elliot snatched away victory from South Africa's mouth with a brilliant knock of unbeaten 84. On 42.5 over, Elliot hit six on Dale Steyn's ball to shatter every South African dream. The Proteas batted first and scored 281/5 in 43 overs while DRS came into effect due to rain and the new target for the Kiwis was 298 in 43 overs. Veteran Brendon McCullum gave a flying start to the hosts as he scored 59 runs in just 26 balls to set the platform for the others and his mission was finished by Elliot. After the match, South African players were in total disbelief as senior players including AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn left the ground with tears.
Dark horse Bangladesh knocked out England in the group stage
In ICC tournaments, Bangladesh have a reputation for knocking out the big teams out of the tournaments. In 2007 WC, they knocked out India from the group stage and in 2015 they did the same to England. In a do or die match for both the teams, Bangladesh middle-order batsman Mahmuddullah smashed a brilliant century to guide his team for a fighting total of 275/7. Before this match, England already lost their matches to Australia and New Zealand and it was their last chance to survive in the tournament but despite a fightback from Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, they left the tournament empty-handed with 15-run short in the game.
The big finale dominated by the Aussies
It was a one-sided contest which didn't do justice to the finale tag of the tournament. New Zealand were outplayed by the mighty Australians at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Apart from the toss, nothing went in the Kiwis favour as after opting to bat, Mitchell Starc removed their star opener McCullum for a duck at the biggest stage. Elliot was the only batsman who took the charge against Australians as he continued his excellent run with the bat and scored 83 runs. Aussies restricted the Kiwis for just 183 runs in 45 overs.
Chasing such a low total was never a tough task for the hosts as they chased down the target in just 33.1 over courtesy Michael Clarke fluent 74 off 72 balls. Apart from Clake, David Warner and Steve Smith also scored 45 and 56 runs respectively.