Australia bowled out India for a modest 240 after opting to bowl on what was a slow wicket that would be best batted on, and chased down the target comfortably thanks to Travis Head’s ton.
Stock image by Harbhajan Singh. Sportzpics
India were the better team through 10 matches and showed unprecedented dominance, excelling in both batting and bowling. The prospect of securing a third World Cup title seemed almost certain to many. However, in the final match, India faltered. Many attributed it to Australia’s innate prowess in deciding matches: they were the most dominant force in World Cup history and have now clinched their sixth World Cup title.
A crucial factor in Australia’s victory on Sunday goes back to the start of the match. Pat Cummins, after winning the toss, elected to bowl first and his bowlers rallied and restricted India to just 240 runs on a sluggish track.
Some reports suggested that it was the Indian management who opted for a slow wicket at the Narendra Modi Stadium for the grand final. Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh, speaking to India todayexpressed shock at the decision, believing that a proper and fast track would have allowed the in-form Indian batting line-up to make the difference in the match.
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It is worth noting that the same Ahmedabad track saw IPL franchise Gujarat Titans accumulate over 200 points on five occasions in the last season, including 233 points in the playoffs and 214 in the final.
Harbhajan said India would have had an advantage if the pitch had not been changed. “I spoke to a few of my Australian friends who I played with in my day. And all of them, they said, India is just the superior team, and it will be India all the way. But, of course, the Australian team presented the plan, they executed it well and they played fantastic cricket. And, of course, if the wicket was slightly better, with the ball coming nicely onto the bat, uh, you know, I think we would have enjoyed it more,” he said.
Travis Head was the star with the bat and he led the Australian charge in the chase. The conditions improved as the match progressed, allowing the hitters to time their shots much better.