Australia on Sunday lifted their sixth men’s ODI World Cup title after defeating the hosts India in the finals of the showpiece event following a scintillating display of batting by Travis Head (137) here at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Australia is the only country to win six men’s ODI World Cup titles, having previously tasted victories in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015. India won two World Cups in 1983 and 2011 respectively.
In Sunday’s final, Australia bundled out India for 240 in 50 overs courtesy of Mitchell Starc’s three wickets (3-55) and two each from Pat Cummins (2-34) and Josh Hazlewood (2-60) before Head slammed a gutsy ton to take the Team from Down Under over the line.
Marnus Labuschagne played a sluggish knock as he scored 58 in 110 balls but assisted Head and built a 192-run stand for the fourth wicket to dismantle any hope the Indians harboured of making a comeback into the summit clash. Head also became just the second player to hit a century while chasing in a World Cup final.
The match saw an exhilarating start for Australia, with a blazing 15 runs in the very first over. However, the momentum shifted as Mohammad Shami removed David Warner in the second over.
Warner’s departure came as a result of an attempted drive that saw the ball swing away, leading to an edge caught by slip, and Virat Kohli executed a flawless catch. Despite this early setback, Mitchell Marsh counter-attacked, contributing with a six and a four, propelling Australia beyond the 40-run mark within four overs.
The crowd erupted once again when Bumrah dismissed Marsh in the fifth over, leaving Australia at 41/2. Bumrah’s subsequent over proved crucial as he claimed another wicket, delivering a peach of a delivery that caught Steve Smith in front of the stumps. Although Smith contemplated a review, he opted against it, and Australia found themselves at 47/3 in the seventh over.
The partnership between Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne was the turning point for Australia, as they orchestrated a remarkable recovery, taking the score from 47/3 to 93/3 in the next 10 overs.
In the 27th over, Head and Labuschagne’s partnership soared past the 100-run mark, bringing Australia close to the 150-run milestone. Despite India’s attempt to challenge an LBW decision against Labuschagne, the batter survived, benefitting from DRS as that went with the umpire’s call.
As the game gradually slipped out of India’s grasp, Australia comfortably achieved the target in the 43rd over with 42 balls to spare, securing a convincing victory.
Earlier in the day, Australia’s bowling masterclass helped the side restrict India to 240 all out in the allotted 50 overs. Rohit Sharma gave India a blazing start, but Australia made a comeback with regular wickets to put the hosts on the back foot.
Starc dismissed Shubman Gill in the fifth over to put a break on the run-scoring but Rohit kept hitting the odd boundaries and stitched a 46-run stand with Virat Kohli.
India went past 50 in just 6.2 overs as Kohli joined the party and hit three consecutive fours. Both batters looked good in the middle and to take the run-scoring a step further, Rohit mistimed a shot in Glenn Maxwell’s over and Travis Head took a blinder running towards his back.
Things got worse for the Men In Blue, as India lost wickets in consecutive overs with Shreyas Iyer going back to the pavilion without troubling Australia. India got reduced to 81/3 in the 11th over.
Kohli and K.L Rahul then steadied the ship for the hosts and took India’s score past the 100-run mark in the 16th over. The duo continued scoring at a brisk rate taking minimal chances to hit boundaries.
However, Cummins had other plans as he dismissed Kohli in the 29th over to put India again into the back. Kohli, who has scored the most runs in the ongoing World Cup, departed soon after scoring his fifty.
Ravindra Jadeja, surprisingly sent in ahead of Suryakumar Yadav, failed to make an impact and was dismissed in the 36th over. As India crossed the 200-run mark in the 41st over, a final push seemed imminent. However, Starc’s return to the attack saw the crucial dismissal of Rahul.
With Suryakumar Yadav holding onto one end, India kept losing wickets as both Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were dismissed cheaply.
Suryakumar and Kuldeep Yadav just added 12 runs for the ninth wicket before Josh Hazlewood dismissed the batter on a slower bouncer. With Suryakumar’s wicket, India’s hopes of going past the 250-run mark came to an end as the hosts were reduced to 226/9 in the 48th over.
In the end, India were only able to score 240 runs in the allotted 50 overs with Kuldeep and Mohammed Siraj scoring a handful of 10 and 9 respectively.
India 240 all out in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 47, Virat Kohli 54, KL Rahul 66; Mitchell Starc 3-55) lost to Australia 241/4 in 43 overs (Travis Head 137, Marnus Labuschagne 58*; Bumrah 2-43) by six wickets.