Amazing Aussies silence crowd to win ODI World Cup
IN one of the more remarkable underdog wins in recent history, Australia defeated India to the tune of six wickets to take out the One Day International (ODI) World Cup on Sunday night.
It was an almighty effort from the Australians, with the team driven to victory by a heroic performance from opening batsman Travis Head, who steered the Aussies to the required total with his 137 (120).
Coming into the game, India was very much the favoured team, with plenty of factors on its side. From the home ground advantage and ability to draw on the vocal nature of the crowd at Narendra Modi Stadium, and their unbeaten record coming into the final, the hosts seemingly had it all going their way.
One of the biggest moments in the match came before a ball was bowled, when Australian captain Pat Cummins won the toss and chose to sent the home side out to bat. It was a bold decision given the opposite decision is typically made, but Cummins backed his world-renowned bowling attack to keep India to a manageable score.
Things looked dire for Australia early, with Indian skipper and opener Rohit Sharma looking extremely comfortable at the crease, and able to take on the Aussies with some damaging shots early. However, his partner in crime in Shubman Gill was caught at midwicket and was the first casualty of the day.
Sharma and the ridiculously in-form Virat Kohli threatened to be the match-winning partnership, but the latter fell victim to an excellent catch in the outfield from Head, who ran back with the flight and held onto the skied shot. Although the Aussies were strangling with their bowling at times, Kohli was the biggest factor to keeping India to a manageable total.
In the final game of his record-breaking World Cup campaign, Kohli got on top of the Australians with consecutive boundaries and the Indians looked like they were going to be hard to catch. Aussie skipper Cummins rotated his bowlers heavily in an attempt to unsettle the star batsman. There was a stage where India could not manage a single boundary for 98 balls, but Australia could not get the breakthrough.
However, the defining moment of the first innings came when he chopped onto his own stumps, courtesy of a Cummins delivery. It was the kind of moment that sparked Australia, who withstood an excellent batting performance from Lokesh Rahul to keep the required total at 241 runs.
Things were once again nervy for Australia with David Warner‘s wild swing at a wilder delivery caught at slip for just seven runs. The big-hitting Mitch Marsh last just 15 deliveries, while the typically reliable Steve Smith was given out lbw. for just four runs, although replays showed he should have reviewed the decision, given he was hit outside the line of off stump.
Suddenly, it was up to Head and Marnus Labuschagne to steady the ship after Australia found itself wobbling at 3/47. The pair put on 192 runs for the fourth wicket in a match-winning performance from the latter. With Labuschagne often acting as an anchor and Head the aggressor, the duo combined well to wrestle back momentum in Australia’s favour.
Head belted one of the best performances in ODI World Cup history, showing a new level of aggressiveness after passing the 50-run mark. He began to take on spin bowlers in particular, and brought up his ton in the 34th over. It was as monumental a performance as anyone could ask, becoming the third Australian in ODI World Cup history to deliver a century in the final, after Ricky Ponting (2003) and Adam Gilchrist (2007).
India attempted to draw a catch by bowling shorter deliveries at Head, but they were punished with excellent timing and shot placement. Three of Head’s four sixes were launched down leg side, with the Indian bowling attack having no answers for his historic performance.
Head was eventually dismissed for 137 (120), with Australia just two runs shy of the required total. It allowed Glenn Maxwell to come in and produce the winning runs with his first shot of the match, as Aussie elation spilled onto the field.
Head was rightfully named Player of the Match for his herculean effort, helping Australia to its sixth ODI World Cup in tournament history.
India 240 (50) def. by Australia 4/241 (43)
India – Rahul 66 (107), Kohli 54 (63), Sharma 47 (31)
Australia – Starc 3/55 (10), Cummins 2/34 (10), Hazlewood 2/60 (10)
Australia – Head 137 (120), Labuschagne 58 (110), Marsh 15 (15)
India – Bumrah 2/43 (10), Siraj 1/45 (7), Shami 1/47 (7)