Australia beat India by six wickets in the World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad last Sunday, Nov. 19, to win their sixth title. Australia won the toss and elected to field first. India posted a reasonable, but not imposing, total of 240 and the Aussies chased the target down with seven overs to spare.
Travis Head made a magnificent 137 to be adjudged the Man of the Match. For India, K L Rahul top-scored with a sedate 66. Marnus Labuschagne and Virat Kohli also made half-centuries for their respective teams.
Pat Cummins’ captaincy stood out amid some exceptional bowling and fielding by Australia
Cummins made a somewhat brave decision of putting the opposition in after having won the toss. The slow and abrasive nature of the surface, which caused reverse swing during the latter stages of the Indian innings, vindicated his decision.
However, the Australian pacers did not have the luxury of bowling under the lights with the new ball, which caused it to move a great deal. The Indian pacers struck thrice with the new ball to leave Australia in a precarious position.
However, the Australians fielded superbly with the likes of David Warner and Head being particularly impressive. Rohit Sharma gave India a blistering start for the umpteenth time with a breezy 47 off 31 balls, but came down the pitch once too many, as Glenn Maxwell shortened his length accordingly.
It resulted in Sharma miscuing his shot and Head took a brilliant running catch to dismiss him. Kohli and Rahul forged a partnership, but their approach was slow and allowed Cummins to run through the overs of part-timers like Maxwell, Head and Mitchell Marsh. Kohli started by hitting three fours off Starc, who gave him room outside the off stump initially. However, he tightened his line thereafter.
Cummins also bowled a very tidy spell, bowling his slower bouncers extensively and hardly giving the Indian batters any room to play their shots. India lacked a left-hander in their batting line-up except Ravindra Jadeja. A left-handed batter might have played the pull shot off Cummins’ short deliveries bowled from over the wicket with an angle, just like David Miller did in the semifinal.
Later on in the innings, Josh Hazlewood and Starc bowled from wide of the crease to generate reverse swing and induce outside edges to keep causing dent to the Indian batting. The Australian pacers kept bowling slower deliveries regularly to use the slowness of the pitch. India finished with a moderate total, as the Australians remained the favourites during the break.
Head’s blistering knock made Australia’s job easyEmbed from Getty Images
As mentioned earlier, India struck early with the new ball. However, Steve Smith should have probably reviewed the leg-before decision against him. Jasprit Bumrah was the stand-out among the Indian bowlers, but Mohammed Shami was below-par on the day.
Head took the attack to Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav, scoring runs quickly. He kept moving a little sideways to his on side, even exposing all his three stumps at times, to keep punishing the short deliveries with his pull shots. Labuschagne kept playing the anchor man’s role by rotating the strike to keep the partnership going.
Head also dealt with the spinners really well with his slog sweeps and lofted shots over mid-wicket and mid-on, respectively, to take the match away from the Indians. By the time Head reached his century, the match was firmly under Australia’s grip.
Head did depart ultimately with a couple of runs remaining, leaving Maxwell to hit the winning stroke to the fielder at the mid-wicket boundary to finish the match off.Embed from Getty Images
It was a clinical performance by the Aussies, who reaffirmed their status as the premier cricket-playing nation in the world.