Numbers point to close tussle

9:41 pm on 28 March 2015

We've heard the opinions about what will happen in today's Cricket World Cup final but what can we divine from the numbers?

A quick glance at New Zealand and Australia's statistics for the tournament make for interesting reading. What they suggest is that New Zealand's top five bowlers have performed markedly stronger than their vaunted Australian counterparts.

Trent Boult and his Black Caps team mates celebrate a wicket during the World Cup semi final against South Africa at Eden Park.

The numbers are with the Black Caps - just. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Caps top five have claimed 67 wickets in the tournament compared to the Australian's 51.

New Zealand's Trent Boult has the most wickets, 21, but is being closely shadowed by the opposition's leading left-armer Mitchell Starc, on 20. Starc's average is brilliant - he picks up a scalp every 10.20 runs to Boult's 15.76.

Starc also has his side's best figures, the 6/28 demolition job against New Zealand in the Eden Park thriller. However, Tim Southee heads him with 7/33, after ripping England out during pool play.

Martin Guptill is the standout in the batting stats, thanks to his century against Bangladesh and tournament leading 237 not out against the West Indies. He has scored 532 runs in total, 232 of those coming in fours.

Brendon McCullum is a distant second for the Kiwis with 328, albeit scored at the phenomenal rate of 191.81 every 100 balls.

Steve Smith, who walks on water if the Australians are to be believed, tops their scorers with 346. Next best is the brutal Glenn Maxwell on 324. He has scored his runs at 181.02 every 100 balls.

Both teams' top five batsmen have more than 200 runs to their names. New Zealand's group scoring 1540 to Australia's 1456.

Of course Australia missed their match against Bangladesh due to weather, which would have likely boosted their run total substantially.

Their top five bowlers would still not have surpassed the Black Caps.

Unfortunately the stats point to one thing: how close it is likely to be.

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