Australia silenced the raucous cheers from the 100,000-strong home crowd by dismissing their opponents, who had never lost before, for 240, and then, with a brilliant century from Travis Head, they easily won with seven overs remaining.
Australia stun hosts India to win sixth title
Australia was reduced to 47-3 as their bowlers skillfully exploited a sluggish pitch, but India responded with a brilliant new-ball effort.
But when Indian hope faded away from the largest cricket stadium in the world, Head and Marnus Labuschagne calmly withstood the storm with a stand of 192.
With just two runs required, Head was caught for 132 from 120 balls, but Labuschagne finished 58 not out from 110 balls, and Glenn Maxwell scored the winning runs a ball later.
With this incredible win, Australia keeps its record as the most successful team in 50-over World Cup history intact and now leads the field by four titles.
They also won the World Test Championship and the Ashes in England after defeating India within a six-month span.
India, on the other hand, was devastated to see their attempt to win a white-ball championship for the first time since 2011 fail at the last hurdle. This was an accomplishment that seemed inevitable given their explosive advancement through the group and semifinal stages.
The stadium bears the name of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, who was expected to be in the stands among a sizable home audience on what was supposed to be his country’s day.
Rather, it ended in heartbreaking sadness as Australia emerged as a surprise and resounding winner, and Head delivered one of the greatest World Cup knocks.
Some in the large stands had already left by the time 29-year-old Head reached his century, and seamer Mohammed Siraj broke down in tears at the conclusion.
Just like when they won the 2021 T20 World Cup, Australia was a contender going into this tournament and wasn’t heavily favoured to win it all.
They lost their first two games against South Africa and India, which gave their campaign severe nerves. However, they went on to win nine straight games, defeating every side in the competition, to secure the title.
Their players, including Steve Smith and David Warner, two of England’s former rivals, rushed onto the pitch in celebration at the conclusion.
Even though Australia has won everything before, this is still one of their best ever evenings.
Head dashes India’s hopes
Due to a fractured hand, Head missed the first four games of Australia’s campaign, but despite this, Australia kept him in the team because they knew he had the ability to win matches.
In his debut against New Zealand, he hit 109, but this performance was much better as he handled tremendous pressure before attacking the bowling.
Following Warner, his opening partner, stealing the first ball of the chase through the slips, Head calmed Australian fears by hitting two boundaries.
After that, Warner pushed a wide ball off Mohammed Shami to slip for seven, and the outstanding Jasprit Bumrah dismissed both Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith.
At that point, the fans came alive once more, even though Smith’s LBW ruling would have been reversed had he been reviewed.
India had the upper hand throughout that frantic opening period, but they also let up 15 extras in the powerplay alone, with the blue team appearing overly keen to defend their modest total. Those wickets occurred during that period.
A slow pitch that had given more turn earlier in the day made batting easier, and Head pounced. He struck four sixes and fourteen fours, all of which were lofted over mid-wicket.
On 99, if Ravindra Jadeja’s toss had struck from cover, he would have been run out as he scrambled to three figures.
When he tried to end in style, he was finally dismissed for 137 after being caught at deep mid-wicket. With the outcome predetermined, Labuschagne gave him a hug as he exited the field, and the Indians congratulated him.
Amazing Australians tie down India.
While Head’s innings will garner most of the attention, Pat Cummins’ bold choice to bowl first at the toss and an outstanding showing with the ball were the cornerstones of this victory.
With 47 off 31 balls, captain Rohit Sharma gave India a flying start. However, Australia tightened a grip on India’s elite batting lineup from 76-1 in the tenth over and did not release it.
Head also made a vital play, wonderfully catching Rohit as he ran back from cover. The hosts were then reduced to 81-3 when, four balls later, Shreyas Iyer was caught behind off Cummins.
That left KL Rahul and Virat Kohli to try to rebuild, but captain Cummins used his pack to great advantage as the astute Australian bowlers maintained the score at a snail’s pace with a combination of athletic fielding and short, slower deliveries.
After Rahul and Kohli combined for 67 runs in 109 balls, the former captain dismissed Cummins for 54 in the 29th over, eliciting a startled quiet from the large crowd. Then, Rahul stole a stunning ball from Starc, dashing any genuine hopes of a big India score.
When India’s lower order was eventually called upon, Ravindra Jadeja managed just nine and Suryakumar Yadav 18 runs, with just four boundaries coming after the first ten overs. This tournament had scarcely required the lower order for India.
Although India’s poorest batting display occurred during the most unfavorable moment of the competition, major recognition must go to Cummins and his victorious attack.
They said, “We saved our best for last.”
“We saved the best for last, and a couple of big-match players stood up. We’re pretty chuffed,” said Australia captain Pat Cummins.
“I believe it all began last week against South Africa; we were desperate on the pitch. The boys were excellent. Even if our team is getting older, we still put a lot of effort into it. We were thrilled to receive 240 because we were content with anything less than 300.”
“We weren’t good enough today, but I’m really proud of the team and how we played from game one,” said India’s captain, Rohit Sharma. Although we made every effort on our end, it wasn’t meant to be.
“We were aiming for a score of 270 or 280, but we kept dropping wickets. We were unable to form a partnership, but Australia succeeded in doing so by winning the game by forming a strong alliance after losing three wickets.”
Travis Head, the player of the match for Australia, said, “I never would have imagined that I would be man of the match today and in the World Test Championship final.” What a fantastic day. I’m ecstatic to be involved in it.
“This is far more enjoyable than lounging on the couch at home! I consider myself really fortunate that everything went smoothly, that I was able to return, and that the lads supported me. I never would have imagined this. It’s fantastic to bat with Marnus [Labuschagne], who batted brilliantly, but I was worried for the first twenty balls. It was a fantastic collaboration.”
On the BBC Test Match Special, former England bowler Steven Finn said, “Everything that Australia did was outstanding, from start to finish.”
“Once again, they excelled in the field. From the moment Travis Head caught Rohit Sharma, Australia was unstoppable, and they never gave India a chance.