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India vs Australia: ICC World Cup Final 2023 (Report)

INDIA VS AUSTRALIA

Head’s brilliant inning of 137 runs gave Australia its sixth World Cup title. 

The opener also took a brilliant catch to send back Rohit Sharma early in the game, after which Australia’s bowlers put India in trouble.

Australia 241 for 4 (Head 137, Labuschagne 58*, Bumrah 2-43) beat India 240 (Rahul 66, Kohli 54, Starc 3-55, Cummins 2-34, Hazlewood 2-60) by six wickets.

Head's brilliant inning of 137 runs gave Australia its sixth World Cup title.
Australia Clinches World Cups in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015, and now 2023

India may now be the heart of the game, but cricket’s coolest head has once again been shown to be an Australian. Travis Head, to be exact, who sealed his team’s record-extending sixth World Cup win in Ahmedabad with a winning pace of 137 off 120 balls, but his most significant contribution had arguably come about six and a half hours earlier, a Most match turning catches in ODI history with.

What could have been for both these teams if Head had not caught a sharp, huge take running backwards through the covers to stop India captain Rohit Sharma at his peak? There is no doubt that Australia’s final target of 241 would have been huge, and this can be gauged from the pace with which India’s new bowlers attacked their opponents in the powerplay – with the latter essentially leading the way. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were included. All the more opportunities for their pursuit slipped down his tightrope.

Instead, Head held out and in doing so, he applied the handbrake on a runaway innings that could never be fully released. Under Rohit’s supervision, India scored 80 runs for 2 wickets with the help of 10 fours and three sixes in the first powerplay. Once he was gone, India had to score only four more fours and 160 more runs in the next 40 overs. This meant that they were unable to score big enough to mitigate the inevitable onset of dew – the primary reason why Pat Cummins had taken the risk of letting Rohit & Co. set the agenda in the first place.

And so Australia’s victory finally came at a canter, with six wickets remaining and a vast majority of 42 balls unused – a margin which might have been bigger still if Head had not been out on the last ball of the chase. Undaunted, Glenn Maxwell scored two runs on his very first ball to take his team to the winning target, which – as luck would have it – was exactly the same total that England and New Zealand had divided by conventional means four years earlier, were unable to do.

But in the end that spontaneity told nothing of the danger that came before it. At 47 for 3 after seven overs, with Steven Smith inexplicably failing to review Bumrah’s LBW which was hit outside his pads, Australia were in a do-or-die contest against two of their most outstanding performers. India’s first unique campaign.

Head's brilliant inning of 137 runs gave Australia its sixth World Cup title.

David Warner, in what may have been his final ODI innings, edged Shami’s first legitimate delivery to the slips to Virat Kohli for 7, sending his first ball of the innings (Bumrah’s) across the same fielder’s boot for four. The crowd had found their full voice for the first time in the game, with Mitchell Marsh’s attempt to hit the ball faster than his length ending in a loose cut to the keeper.

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But despite the feeling midway through the tournament that he and Head were competing for a solitary place, Marnus Labuschagne was retained in Australia’s starting eleven, making his Test debut with an indomitable sidekick of 58 not out from 110 balls. Showed the value of excellence. Over-by-over, run by run, he and Head looked to pace and spin equally well and put together a vital partnership of 192 runs for the fourth wicket, until at some uncertain moment around the 20th over of the chase. In, was not cut on a two-paced wicket. Replaced with the long-promised, same-sprinkling of dew.

When Australia were beginning to gain momentum at 148 for 3, when Bumrah returned in the 28th over to turn the tables, he was greeted with three fours off Head, either side out for LBW against Labuschagne. An appeal was made to the umpire, which seemed like final proof that India’s hopes were gone.

Ultimately, it was a clinical and ruthless passion-killing display from the world game’s most formidable winners. Every man in Australia’s XI played their part in energizing a contest that, judging by the sea of blue in the stands at the Narendra Modi Stadium and the expected presence of the Prime Minister himself, was intended as a coronation. Instead, the closing hour of the match was greeted in stunned silence by the 92,453-strong crowd, and nothing epitomized the sense of national anticlimax like the trophy lift, which left Cummins on the podium for a full 20 seconds. Was. Before his team could join him after shaking his hand away from center stage.

Not that the lack of in-situ praise will derail Australia’s sense of achievement. As Head’s decisive catch ultimately proved, the tone of their victory was once again set on the field. As was the case in the semi-final against South Africa, the 37-year-old Warner was their barometer, hurling himself to cut away several boundary balls with enthusiasm, but when Rohit was on deck, it looked like Cummins’s courageous decision Bowling first, India, like many of their opponents before them, could soon be overwhelmed by the extraordinary weight of their strokemakers.

Instead, he backed his bowlers to finish the job they had started in their extraordinary tournament opener in Chennai, where India’s top three players were out for a duck at 2 for 3, Ease to meet their low-level target of only 200. This time, despite the dew, he thought the pressure of the big occasion might weigh more heavily in the first innings than in the second – especially if his attack could achieve early success.

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All this made Rohit’s short-lived attack even more courageous, and selfless, as he shouldered the entire responsibility of India’s powerplay activation, especially against Josh Hazlewood, who was responsible for Chennai’s collapse. In the way he ran down the pitch to meet his difficult length, there were shades of Sachin Tendulkar’s pre-emptive attack on Glenn McGrath in the 2003 final… except on this occasion, in short, it seemed to be working. Was.

But then came the crowning moment of the match – a display of fielding greatness that could be compared to Kapil Dev’s running catch off Viv Richards at the crucial juncture of the 1983 final. Rohit had already scored ten runs in two balls of Glenn Maxwell’s second over when he slapped another over the long-off boundary and lofted the ball towards cover. Travis Head tracked the ball back from the point, slanting it over his shoulder, and never left his eyes on the prize, timing his dive with perfection to catch it with both hands.

Head's brilliant inning of 137 runs gave Australia its sixth World Cup title.

This will be remembered as a key moment of the World Cup. Australia still trailed by 80 runs in the first powerplay – the joint-most at that stage in the first innings of a World Cup final – but now they sensed a chance to turn the contest around. Two balls later, Cummins, in his second over, caught the edge of Shreyas Iyer as he poked without conviction or footwork, and on three runs in the 11th over, Shubman Gill was already out on a weak pull-off Mitchell Starc. Gone was Hardik Pandya’s absence as India’s lower-order pivot suddenly revealed a weakness that Shami’s brilliant influence with the ball had hidden until now.

There were no such concerns as India went on a roll in each of their last ten tournament wins – including five uninterrupted chases to start their campaign and a net margin of 875 runs in their subsequent five bat-first wins. Included. As a result, India’s Nos. 6-11 in those matches were called upon to score barely 240 runs, the lowest by any team in this tournament, and now suddenly, Shami and Bumrah were included at the no. 8 and 9, none of their set batsmen dared to put that fall into motion.

At least in Kohli, India had someone whose pace could be relied upon in such situations. Despite his team’s good days, and scoring 765 runs at an average of 95.62 in the tournament, his ruthless devotion to scoring runs was mistaken for his weakness. Now his half-century off 56 balls was the cornerstone of his team’s recovery, although the reaction to his latest milestone was a hushed roar that only heightened the anxiety that had preceded it.

But Australia’s brilliant attack could not be denied, especially when Cummins sensed the obvious reluctance of his opponents’ bowlers to make changes. Between them, Maxwell, Head, and Marsh gave away 44 runs in ten overs, an ideal holding pattern that bought options for the back end of the innings.

Head's brilliant inning of 137 runs gave Australia its sixth World Cup title.

This also included the return of the captain himself for the 29th over. On the third ball of his second spell, Cummins hit an awkward length with his short ball, and Kohli looked genuinely emotional as he under-edged his stumps with an angled bat, the length from which The ball was up, looked at it and took a look. His shoulder before walking away, as if assessing the pull shot he had chosen to keep in his locker.

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KL Rahul faced a bit of a tough time as he struggled to showcase his full range of shots on the field. However, he managed to break free from the dry spell that lasted 97 balls without hitting any boundaries. Taking a bold step, he lifted Maxwell’s ball over his shoulder and sent the ball through fine leg for four runs. This was the longest boundary drought for any team in the tournament except the Netherlands. Interestingly, this is also India’s longest dry spell since 1999, between 11 and 50 overs.

But on 66, he and the lower order came face to face with another threat, without which India’s own seamers were forced to work. In preparing an apparently dry and abrasive deck for this final, the curators had left open the possibility of reverse swing, and few teams have more eager exponents than Australia. Starc, from round the wicket, edged Rahul and straightened an unexpected delivery through the keeper.

Although Ravindra Jadeja is renowned as a scrapper in such conditions, his promotion to No. 6 could not compete with Hazlewood’s similarly late move. He was out for 6 off the very next ball after surviving a review for caught-back, at which point, India’s easy progress to the final was completely with them. With no situational experience to fall back on – and no pace in the wicket with which to reach his inverted V from fine leg to deep third – Suryakumar Yadav was out for 18 off 27 before sending Hazlewood to the keeper. By that stage, he had faced Kuldeep Yadav for the ninth wicket with just five balls out of his possible 17 balls.

Kuldeep and Mohammed Siraj kept the innings alive till the last ball, but the mood inside the stadium never recovered from its funk. Australia came with a plan and a firm knowledge of exactly what it took to win the biggest title in sport. Ahmedabad turned blue, but only with the despair of what could have been.

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