Ahmedabad, November 19
Pat Cummins, the Australian captain, loves the silence of the Indian crowds, because it descends on the stadium when the Indian team is losing. Cummins and his men silenced a lakh of people at the Narendra Modi Stadium with a gritty performance to win Australia their sixth World Cup crown, leaving a partisan crowd crestfallen.
Travis Head, who missed the first five matches of the World Cup due to hand fracture, was Sunday night’s biggest star as he smashed his second century of the tournament in the team’s six-wicket victory. His 137 off 120 balls shepherded the team home after they were in all sorts of trouble at 47/3 in seven overs, with the packed stadium egging the home team on.
Head and Marnus Labuschagne weathered the storm before attacking back in the true Australia fashion, and added 192 runs. Run by run, they sucked the fight out of Indian team and the noise out of the massive stadium. After nine victories in the round-robin stage and the 10th in the semifinals, India’s fans demanded nothing short of victory, but the team’s plans went awry on the biggest night of the tournament.
Brought immense pride to nation
Dear Team India, your talent & determination through the WC was noteworthy. You’ve played with great spirit & brought immense pride to the nation… We stand with you today and always. —Narendra Modi, Prime Minister
didn’t bat well, Fell short by 20-30 runs
We know we were not good enough on the day. But I am proud of the team. Honestly, 20-30 runs (more) would’ve been good. —Rohit Sharma, Captain
Saved best for last
Saved our best for last. Today, we thought it was a good night to chase. We have an ageing side but everyone threw themselves around. —Pat Cummins, Oz skipper
Captain Rohit Sharma attacked from the start, as is his wont, 47 off 31, but one he fell, in the 10th over, the runs dried up; India’s other attacker at the top, Shubman Gill, had gone early, with four off seven, and the third attacker, Shreyas Iyer, was dismissed for four off three balls. At 81 for three, it was time to rebuild, but it was not easy on a slowish wicket — Rahul Dravid, the Indian coach, later explained that the ball was stopping a bit during India’s innings.
The Australians were exceptional in the field and saved at least 20 runs through magnificent sliding at the boundary, often pulling back the ball from the edge of the rope.
Picture this — only four boundaries were hit in the final 40 overs, one of them in the last over, by last man Mohammed Siraj!
Kohli’s dismissal for 54 was a significant moment in the game — he knew that, too. He played on off Pat Cummins and stayed at the wicket for some 10 seconds, as if stunned, in disbelief. His dream tournament, possibly his last World Cup, was going horribly wrong. Rahul couldn’t accelerate, nor had the appetite to take risks, and Suryakumar Yadav got only 18 off 28 balls.
India’s hope lay in Australia crumbling in the evening in a stadium that had become a cauldron of intense emotion. Australia did lose three before they reached 50, but then fought back in a way that only they can. The silence of the crowd was sweet music to Cummins’s ears.
Kohli named Player of the Tournament
Virat Kohli was named the Player of the Tournament for his performance with the bat in the ICC World Cup-2023. He scored 765 runs, with the help of three hundreds and six fifties at an average of 101.57 and a strike rate of 90.69. The former India captain had a great tournament, first equalling and then surpassing Sachin Tendulkar to become the player with the most ODI hundreds (50)
‘Never expected it’
Australia’s opener Travis Head, who scored match-winning 120-ball 137 to earn the Man of the Match tag, said he “never expected this in a million years”. “Truly an exceptional day. A lot better than sitting on the couch at home,” he said, adding it was a great decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
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