Australia's magnanimous win shatters Indian dreams
Aussies clinches record sixth World Cup title
AHMEDABAD: Travis Head's brisk 137-run knock paired up with Marnus Labuschagne's unbeaten half-century led Australia to convincing six-wicket victory over India to win ICC World Cup 2023.
This is Australia's sixth ODI World Cup title, having lifted prestigious silverware on five occasions before in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. Set to chase modest 241, Australia comfortably knocked off winning runs in 43 over, courtesy of match-winning third-wicket partnership between Head and Labuschagne.
Australia found themselves in state of bother earlier in the run chase when they slipped to 47/3 in just seven overs with in-form openers David Warner (7), Mitchell Marsh (15) and experienced batter Steve Smith (4) perishing cheaply.
India, who were on 10-match winning streak were fancying their chances to defend low score and to lift their third title but Head swept away their hopes.
Left-handed opener put together match-winning 192-run partnership with Marnus Labushagne which put Australia in touching distance to their record victory.
Head was core aggressor of magnificent stand while Labuschagne batted cautiously to make sure he did not throw away his wicket. Opener, however, could not score winning runs for his team as he smashed short delivery from Muhammed Siraj straight to Shubman Gill at deep midwicket.
Travis Head top-scored for Australia in ICC World Cup 2023 final with brilliant 137. His 120-ball knock featured 15 boundaries and four sixes. Coming out to bat at number five, Glenn Maxwell wasted no time and scored winning runs for Australia as he pulled Siraj for four.
Labuschagne, who played an anchoring role in Australia's World Cup victory remained unbeaten on 58. He faced 110 deliveries and hit four boundaries. For India, Jasprit Bumrah bagged two wickets while Siraj and Shami could pick up a wicket.
Australia opted to bowl first and Mitchell Starc gave his side first breakthrough when he dismissed Shubman Gill (4) with mere 30 runs on board. Indian captain Rohit Sharma however continued to attack and added 46 runs for second wicket with Virat Kohli before perishing courtesy of brilliant catch by Travis Head off Glenn Maxwell. Sharma played quick knock of 47 runs off 31 balls, featuring four boundaries and three sixes. Australian captain Pat Cummins picked his first wicket as Shreyas Iyer (4) walked back to pavilion in next over with scoreboard reading 81-3 in 11th over.
Virat Kohli and KL Rahul then knitted cautious 67-run partnership for fourth wicket lifting India's total to 148 before Cummins bowled Kohli to silence capacity crowd at stadium. Kohli played solid 54-run knock from 63 balls with help of four boundaries. Australian bowlers kept their side in dominant position with their disciplined bowling, not allowing Indian batters to score freely. KL Rahul top-scored for India with scratchy innings of 66 runs from 107 balls with single boundary before getting caught behind off Mitchell Starc leaving his side reeling at 203-6 in 42nd over. Suryakumar Yadav then played a shaky innings of 18 runs off 28 balls amid falling wickets at other end until Josh Hazlewood got him caught behind off slower short-pitched delivery.
Australian bowlers wrapped up Indian innings off final ball of innings as Kuldeep Yadav got run out with 240 runs on board. Starc topped wickets chart with three wickets, while Cummins and Hazlewood picked two wickets each.
Published in The Daily National Courier, November, 20 2023