Melbourne: Michael Clarke is adamant about Australia`s chances of winning a record fifth World Cup, claiming on Saturday: "I believe if we play our best, we can beat New Zealand tomorrow."
Bookmakers have installed the Aussies as 9-4 ON favourites to win the tournament decider at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with the Black Caps playing in their first World Cup final.
The Kiwis have been the form team, winning all of their eight matches, including a nerve-tingling one-wicket win over Clarke`s team in Auckland in the pool stage, but now they must play their first game in the tournament away from home.
"I believe if we play our best, we can beat New Zealand," Clarke told reporters Saturday. "I don`t buy into the favourites or not favourites.
"New Zealand have been the form team of the competition. New Zealand have beaten us once in this tournament. But I`m confident if we play our best, we can beat them tomorrow."
Clarke, who dropped a retirement bombshell by announcing that Sunday`s World Cup final will be his 245th and last one-day international for his country, said winning was about the team and not for his circumstances.
"It`s a special game, no doubt about it, but it needs to be about the team and I want it to be about the team," he said.
"I`ve just said it to my teammates. And I`ve been the one to come out and say, it`s not emotion, it`s skill that helps you win major games and major tournaments, and tomorrow will be no different.
"It`s a wonderful opportunity for every single player in that change room to walk out onto the MCG in a World Cup final. It`s a very special event. But yeah, it`s no more special because it`s my last game."
Clarke said his wanted his teammates to go out before an anticipated 90,000 full house in a high-stakes game and play with freedom.
"I`ve been fortunate enough to play in two previous World Cups and win one of those. So I know what the feeling is like," he said.
"Even when I think back to 2007, there was such a buildup about the World Cup final, but the emotion and the adrenaline and the feeling didn`t hit me until after the game when we were celebrating together as a team."
Given his decision to retire from ODIs, Clarke said he was unaware if other senior teammates, notably Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, were also contemplating quitting the shorter form of the game.
"I think everybody in that dressing room has a lot more cricket left in their body. That`s for sure," said Clarke.
"If the desire is still there and they`re playing for the right reasons, then I don`t see any reason why they would stop.
"I haven`t spoken to any of them about their individual decisions, how they feel, what they`re going to do.
"My main focus has been making sure everyone is fit and healthy and feeling good about this tournament. If they want to continue, I think it`ll be left up to them."