Did India's decision 'blunder with pitch' cost them World Cup title?

India, known for its strong batting lineup fails to put up respectable total as team bowled out at mere 240 runs in final

Sports Desk
Indias Virat Kohli looks on during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia at Ahmedabads Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19, 2023. — Reuters
India's Virat Kohli looks on during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19, 2023. — Reuters

Concerns have been raised on the playing surface after India's batting collapse led to the host side's humiliating defeat against Australia in the final match of the World Cup 2023.

India, known as a batting powerhouse, failed to put up a respectable total and was limited to 240 runs in 50 overs. Batting second, the Kangaroos sailed through the 241-run target to secure their sixth ODI World Cup title.

Commenting on the final match, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting blamed India's "blunder with the pitch" for the home team's defeat against the Aussies.

"It was very, very sub-continental conditions today. A wicket preparation that has probably ended up backfiring on India to be totally fair," Ponting said stressing that the host side failed to prepare the right pitch for the all-important match.

It is to be noted that despite suffering early blows, the Kangaroos sailed through the garget courtesy of Travis Head's brilliant 137-run knock as the left-handed batter stood tall and anchored the innings for his side in the all-important match.

Head was greatly supported by a calm and composed Marnus Labuschagne as the right-hander started his innings slowly and played while rotating the strike, providing Head the room to find the moments and hit boundaries.

The two batters built a formidable 192-run partnership which guided Australia to yet another title triumph.

"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.

Batting first, India didn't get an ideal start as Mitchell Starc gave them a big blow in the fifth over by removing star opener Shubman Gill for just four runs. The right-handed batter was caught at mid-on by Adam Zampa.

But Sharma lost his wicket in the 10th over and the next batter, Shreyas Iyer, followed him in the next over just after scoring four runs.

However, KL Rahul and Kohli built a 67-run partnership and looked all set to score big. But the latter became Cummins' victim just after completing his half-centuries as he misjudged a short ball.

Rahul continued to play but he didn't have much support from the other hand as all the other Indian batters kept on losing wickets at intervals and the team was soon all-out on the last ball of the match.