Australia are six-time ODI world champions. No team has won more than two and here six of the 13 World Cup trophies sit in Australia’s coffers. Their victory in the Cricket World Cup 2023 against hosts India is still unbelievable to that record. In India.
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It was everything that came into the final against Australia. They were not the form team. That was India with 10 wins from 10 matches. Their players did not rule the individual stat charts. India’s Virat Kohli topped the list of current run-scorers while his compatriot Mohammed Shami led the race for wicket takers. They were away from home and at the biggest cricket stadium in the world with a capacity of 1,32,000, amidst an ocean of blue, that would bring even the best to their knees.
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Do you know how they responded to that?
By winning the toss and opting to field.
The ability to do that, in front of more than one lakh people sang Vande Matram in such a way that a battle would have been half won by then, is what makes Australia what they are.
The spirit and self-belief never left Australia even if its golden generation left the team. What helped them recover from two straight defeats at the start of the 2023 World Cup – against India and South Africa – was to write a nine-match winning streak that took them to the title.
In the crucial final, Cummins didn’t take the easy way out to bat first and escape the scoreboard pressure. They are the true professionals and the Australians wanted to show that.
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In the ’90s, when Australia made fun of India, which was far too often, we were constantly told that a cultural change was needed to challenge the Asians. We had to be professional like them.
India has made enormous progress but it is clear that some things still need to be done. And this aspect, being able to successfully disconnect the emotions and feelings from the job at hand, was the difference in the final.
When they were on the field, the Australians put forth so much energy that the raucous crowd sitting in the stands had nothing to do with it. Travis Head showed that determination and energy with a superb diving catch, running back at cover point, to dismiss India captain Rohit Sharma and his 47 runs from 31 balls was the only reason India could even score 240 reach after all other batters surrender or surrender. .
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Pacers Mitchell Starc and Cummins addressed their lack of urgency with the ball and here they were making up for it with reverse swing and control.
Cummins removed Kohli after the star batsman dug deep, perhaps a little too much, for a fifty and Starc spun the ball in the death overs to get KL Rahul and India’s hopes behind him.
In the end Starc had three wickets and Cummins two as India were bowled out for 240.
After stifling the Indian batsmen with their athletic fielding, lethal bowling and high-pace cricket, Australia doubled the pressure in the second innings.
Mid-innings entertainment, laser lighting or the Indian Air Force show, there was nothing to intimidate the Australians.
15 came from Jasprit Bumrah’s over and the tone was set. Ceannaire, who terrorized India earlier this year in the final of the World Test Championship, was in the limelight again as he made 137 out of the match. That showed perhaps more than technique and skill, it’s the mindset you need.
India did well, dismissing David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith freely, but the way Head played and the way Marnus Labuschagne helped him with 58 not out and dew in their favour, it was just so many Indian bowlers have done.
As the game drew to a close, the stands began to empty and the atmosphere was almost like a funeral. On the eve of the final, Cummins had said that their aim was to silence the Indian fans. It is the story of this World Cup and world cricket that would achieve that in such a convincing way.
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