Sunday, November 19, 2023
Shattering India's dream of winning another ICC tournament on their own soil, the Australia triumphed over the hosts in the all-important World Cup 2023 final to secure their sixth ODI title on Sunday.
It must be noted that within a span of two years, Australia have now won all three ICC trophies — T20 World Cup, World Test Championship and ODI World Cup — proving why they are the greatest cricketing nation without a single doubt.
Australia suffered a top-order wobble of their own but Travis Head's 137 off 120 balls saw them romp home with seven overs to spare in the match that never reached great heights.
With 93,000 predominantly Indian fans sat mostly in deathly silence as the Rohit Sharma-led side, who had won 10 matches in a row to make the final, succumbed to their first loss of the tournament in the all-important summit clash.
"What an amazing day! Just thrilled to be a part of it. It's a lot better than seeing the World Cup on the couch at home (on his injury)," Head — who was awarded the "Man of the Match" award — said as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
"I was a little bit nervous but Marnus played exceptionally well and soaked all the pressure. I felt the way Mitch [Marsh] took the game on setting the tone and that was the energy we wanted," he added.
Meanwhile, India's star batter Kohli was named "Man of the Tournament" for scoring 765 runs throughout the mega-event.
Earlier, Pat Cummins's decision to field, primarily to avoid operating with a dewy ball in the night, bemused many but Australian bowlers, aided by some superb fielding, stifled their opposition.
Put into bat, India rode battling half-centuries by KL Rahul and Kohli to post a below-par 240 all out in exactly 50 overs at a packed Narendra Modi Stadium.
India captain Rohit Sharma had been playing tone-setting knocks in their batting template in the tournament and it was no different in the final despite the early loss of Shubman Gill.
Rohit smashed three sixes in his entertaining 47 but fell just before the end of the powerplay.
The opener stepped out against Glenn Maxwell but miscued his shot on the offside as Head ran backwards from cover to take a tumbling catch to get rid of the India captain.
The hosts slumped to 81-3 in the 11th over when Cummins dismissed Shreyas Iyer caught behind.
Kohli and Rahul (66) then combined in a dour rebuilding job even if it meant going 16.1 overs without a boundary.
The former brought up his ninth 50-plus knock in 11 innings but soon departed after chopping a Cummins delivery onto his stumps.
Rahul hit just one four in his half-century illustrating how difficult the pitch was for shot-makers like him.
Australia wicketkeeper Josh Inglis took five catches, which is a record in a World Cup final.
Australia, when they came out to bat, slumped to 47-3 seven overs into what had looked like a straight-forward chase for them.
Head combined with Marnus Labuschagne, who made 58 not out, in a 192-run stand to kill off the contest.
With additional input from Reuters.