Thousands of Indian fans flooded out of this enormous cricket stadium in complete shock as Pat Cummins and his players revelled in the aftermath of Australia sixth men’s World Cup victory a title that is undoubtedly their greatest. The idea that India would fulfil their destiny in their home event was long gone. With a strong lineup that included some of the greatest players of all time in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah, the team watched a scorching run of ten straight victories end at the penultimate hurdle. Cummins, a lad from the Blue Mountains wearing a sea of blue shirts, had orchestrated an incredibly well-known theft.
Against Australia, Bumrah and Mohammed Shami caused what seemed to be match-winning mayhem in a tumultuous opening to the chase that bore all the markings of India’s trip thus far. But from 47 for three in seven absolutely madcap overs, two batsmen, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, demonstrated the kind of tenacity and skill that has run through Australian cricket history like words through a stick of canary yellow rock. Steve Smith was the last to fall LBW and failed to call for the review that would have saved him.
Head had a fractured hand and missed the first five games of the tournament, but Cummins did not waver since he understood how valuable Head was. With seven overs remaining and four wickets down, Labuschagne’s brilliant 137 from 120 balls, combined with his unwavering 58 not out, sealed the deal. The decision to keep the place open paid off handsomely in the end. The South Australian left-hander with the thick moustache assumed the more dangerous position, hitting 15 fours and four sixes while Labuschagne chipped away at one end, blunting India’s spinners. During what seemed to be Shami’s crucial comeback in the 24th over, Head celebrated with a four, returning the ball back to its original location on his way to a 95-ball century.
Match Player “Travis Head”
Although Head failed to meet the aim by two points, it did provide a well-earned opportunity for a solo time in the spotlight, allowing the remaining supporters to make amends. After Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, Head became the third Australia player to achieve a century in a World Cup final, and Kohli politely raced up to give him a slap on the back. Head became the third player from Australia to score a century in a World Cup final, following Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting.
When Cummins won the toss and proceeded to bowl with a two-fingered seam-up motion following an aerial performance of aerobatics by the 52nd squadron of the Indian air force, a good number of people took notice. Those feelings were confirmed when his counterpart, Sharma, put on a bit of a show of his own, hitting three sixes in a 31-ball 47 until it was cut short by a brilliant tumbling catch from Head and Maxwell. The fans anticipated a replay of Sharma’s early raids, which had earlier in the tournament caused an avalanche of Indian runs. Yet, Cummins displayed incredible composure. He cleverly deployed his resources, not the least of which was recognising when a ball began to reverse and pushing it into Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s hands. While Cummins took two for 34, the two were outstanding, sharing five wickets between them.
All that remained for India was to gather their runners-up medals and watch as their prime minister, the person whose name is on this enormous pitch in Ahmedabad, gave the World Cup to the worthy Cummins. There was a reminder that nothing in sport is predetermined at the conclusion of what had seemed like a 46-day procession for the hosts.
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