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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Skipper Clarke exits in World Cup glory

Australia captain Michael Clarke (below) had hoped his retirement from one-day international cricket would be a foot-note to Australia's successful bid for a fifth World Cup.

But having top-scored for Australia with a 74 to push his team to victory over New Zealand, the 33-year-old bowed out with guns blazing in a fairytale farewell at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.

James Faulkner won the man-of-the-match award for his three-wicket haul that sent New Zealand crashing to 183, but the night belonged to Clarke who saved his best for last.

"I said yesterday that I thought it was the right time. Now I know it's the right time," Clarke said after his 245th ODI match left him with a total of 7,981 runs at an impressive average of 44.58.

"There's no such things as fairytales in sport but that's as close as it gets."

In front of a roaring crowd of 93,000, Clarke had the golden touch from the start.

He took a sharp catch to dismiss Luke Ronchi for a duck off the bowling of player-of-the-tournament Mitchell Starc.

Though Australia were set a modest chase of 184 for victory, Clarke came to the crease with his team wobbling at 63-2.

He dominated his partnership with captain-in-waiting Steven Smith, crunching 10 fours and a six in a 72-ball knock, his most fluent of the World Cup campaign.

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