By Chetan Sharma
AHMEDABAD, (IANS) – India missed out on a golden opportunity to become the only country to win two men’s ODI World Cup titles at home on November 19 here at Narendra Modi Stadium.
Australia lifted their sixth men’s ODI World Cup title after defeating the hosts India in the finals of the showpiece event following a scintillating display of batting by Travis Head (137). Be it batting, bowling, or fielding, Australia completely dominated the set-up and Team India looked clueless in the game. The loss couldn’t be attributed to a single player obviously but there were instances where the team didn’t just put up the show.
Batting first on a pitch which is very slow and a tricky surface, had already put India onto the backfoot. Rohit Sharma said he would have batted first only even if India have won the toss. Australian skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and chose to bowl first so he had a fair share of idea of what could be a par score in this tricky wicket.
Also, when India lost three wickets, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to steady the ship played slow. The duo added 67 runs in the 18 overs. The defensive approach coupled with Australia’s brilliance in the field made sure, the hosts fell 40-50 runs short.
While both Kohli and Rahul reached their fifties, their failure to capitalize on the starts contributed to India’s struggle. Rahul’s innings of 66 off 107 balls was deemed too slow for modern-day cricket standards. Suryakumar Yadav, coming in after Ravindra Jadeja, faced challenges settling in, hindering India’s scoring momentum. The team could only manage to post a total of 240 runs.
Speaking about the partnership, Dravid in the post-match press conference said, “There was that period where I think the ball was stopping. We couldn’t get boundaries. We were rotating the strike, but we couldn’t hit those boundaries. And yeah, there was a conscious effort to try and take the game deep, but we kept losing wickets. We just lost wickets just when we felt that we built a partnership, and we can start going. We lost a wicket, we lost Virat (Kohli), then we lost Jaddu (Jadeja) and then we lost (KL) Rahul.”
Also, Suryakumar came after Jadeja which never allowed him the time to get settled. The right-handed batter struggled to even middle the ball, and, in the end, India was only able to score 240 runs.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah provided India with a promising start. However, the field setup for a new batter lacked aggression, missing opportunities to put pressure on the opposition.
Head’s brilliance also made sure India were never in the game. He first took a blinder to dismiss Indian captain Rohit and then hit a scintillating century to steer Australia to an ODI World Cup win.
India, who had enjoyed a remarkable run in the World Cup with ten consecutive victories, seemed unprepared for a collapse. Coach Dravid acknowledged that the team fell short by 30-40 runs of the par score, emphasizing the challenging conditions during their batting innings.
“I think we fell about 30-40 runs short. It’s not that we were looking to bat it out. I thought they bowled well through that period. I thought it just felt like the ball was stopping in the afternoon a little bit more than it did in the evening. And not that there was a lot of dew, to be honest, but just felt like the ball came on to the bat a lot better in the evening,” said Dravid in the post-match press conference. (Courtesy: https://indiawest.com/)