In a thrilling turn of events, Australia clinched its sixth men’s Cricket World Cup title, extending its record, as host nation India faltered under intense nationwide pressure. The stunning victory in Ahmedabad not only defied the odds but also silenced a partisan home crowd.
The Indian Dominance
India had dominated much of the tournament, cruising to an impressive streak of 10 consecutive wins. The cricket-obsessed nation had waited 12 years for another one-day trophy, and the expectations were sky-high. With India occupying the No. 1 spot in the world rankings and boasting a lightning-fast start in the final, hopes soared.
During the first powerplay, India managed to score 80 runs, equaling the record for a men’s World Cup final. Captain Rohit Sharma was the driving force behind this remarkable start, hitting towering sixes that lit up the stadium. However, Rohit’s brilliant innings was cut short when he fell victim to a stunning catch by Travis Head off Glenn Maxwell’s bowling.
The loss of Rohit was a turning point, and soon after, Shreyas Iyer departed, sending shockwaves through the Indian crowd. The run rate began to slow down as Australia’s bowling tactics tightened their grip on the game.
Travis Head emerged as Australia’s hero, playing a spectacular inning of 137 runs off 120 balls. His performance anchored Australia’s run chase as they closed in on another World Cup trophy. India had won the last three World Cups, and with their No. 1 ranking, they were expected to continue this streak, especially in the 132,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium.
Despite early setbacks, India remained hopeful with Virat Kohli and KL Rahul at the crease. However, Kohli’s dismissal for 54, thanks to a delivery from Australia’s captain Pat Cummins, dashed their hopes. Cummins frequently rotated his bowlers, preventing India’s batsmen from settling into a rhythm, and no significant partnership developed to post a formidable score.
KL Rahul’s gritty innings of 66 off 107 balls and some valuable contributions from the tailenders pushed India to a respectable total. However, it always felt like a challenging target to defend as all the momentum had shifted in favor of Australia.
Australia’s Remarkable Turnaround
Australia’s batting innings began with promise, as David Warner and Travis Head put on 15 runs in the very first over. However, India struck back quickly when Warner was dismissed in the second over by Mohammed Shami. This gave India a glimmer of hope.
Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith also fell soon after, leaving Australia at 47-3, and suddenly the momentum was back with India. Every play and miss by the Australian batsmen was met with deafening cheers from the crowd.
But it was Travis Head, named player of the match, and Marnus Labuschagne, who steadied the ship and built a partnership that wrested control of the game away from India. Head’s innings ended just two runs short of victory when he holed out, leaving Glenn Maxwell to come in and hit the winning runs, sparking wild celebrations among the Australians.
Australia’s remarkable sixth Cricket World Cup triumph will be remembered as a testament to their resilience and skill under immense pressure. India, while putting up a valiant fight, couldn’t maintain their dominance in the crucial moments of the match.