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India Takes on Australia in World Cup Final for Ultimate Glory
It’s finally the time that everyone was waiting for. India is all set to take on Australia in Sunday’s final. The expectations all around the country are that India will win the Cup and fulfil its destiny. As the two powerhouses of the cricketing world battle for ultimate glory it’s no brainer that Team India starts as favourites in Ahmedabad.
The fierce rivals will end their campaign just as they started it, against each other, in what promises to be a cracker of a contest. India had beaten Australia in their tournament opener and have recorded 10 wins in a row. Though Australia began with two losses, they too are now on an eightmatch winning streak.
The two sides have a long and exciting history in the men’s ODI World Cup. The 2023 World Cup is a rematch of the 2003 World Cup final but with a role-reversal. This time it’s India who are the dominant, unbeaten force, and it’s up to plucky Australia to challenge Team India which seems an unstoppable side in this world cup.
The Indian side is in excellent form with both batting and bowling performing like well-oiled units. Rohit Sharma has been the defining force of Indian batting in this championship and has been the key reason for India’s domination. Apart from him, Shubman Gill has been brilliant up front and a perfect foil for Rohit. Most of the time he has played a second fiddle to his skipper but once Rohit has got out Gill has taken charge, not letting the run-rate go down.
This aggressive batting at the start has helped Kohli to settle down and score big. He has had the best ever World Cup campaign any batter has ever managed. Kohli’s solidity and dependency have been extraordinary. In his 10 innings at this World Cup, he has amassed 711 runs, and crossed 50 eight times, pushing three of those knocks to triple figures. He is the first batter ever to score 700 runs in a single World Cup and his average of 101.6 reflects his phenomenal consistency.
India’s middle order has been in super touch too, with Shreyas and Rahul both hitting peak form. Their adaptability according to the situation has led India posting big totals beyond the reach of their opposition. In fact, such has been their command that Indian tail, a supposed weak link, has had to bat only a couple of times in the competition.
Not to be left behind, Indian bowlers have been clinical in their efforts too. Indian pacers have had the openers of all teams on the mat by the time the powerplay ends. In fact, Shami’s haul of 23 wickets has come from just 41.5 overs at an average of just 9.1 and strike rate of 10.9, both remarkable numbers. Another number that has been critical to India’s success, and added to Shami’s aggressive bowling, is Jasprit Bumrah’s economy rate of 3.98. He’s the only bowler to play more than one game and manage a rate below 4!
Moreover, the two lefties — Jadeja and Kuldeep have also been quite effective. They have added pressure after teams have lost wickets up front and kept the lid on the scoring grate in the crucial middle overs. The only area that India can look to polish is their fielding, which has been rather ordinary in the last couple of games. Even Rohit acknowledged after the semi-finals that his team was a bit “sloppy” in the field!
For Australia, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell have all starred with the bat at different junctures and in rather different ways. However, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have underperformed from their usually high standards. But the Aussie tailenders have compensated for them and often waged major fightbacks. In the finals, they would want their top order to fire, to bring India in any sort of pressure.
Aussie pacers though have been unusually ordinary. But in helpful conditions in the semis with South Africa, their threepronged pace attack finally fired on all cylinders. In Adam Zampa Australia have a crafty leg-spinner as well who has grabbed 22 wickets in the tournament and will look to put pressure on the Indian middle order if they get wickets up front!
India have been easily the most consistent side of the tournament, and possibly in any World Cup ever. But Australia are formidable foes with an insatiable winning attitude and stubbornness to dodge defeat. An intriguing clash of styles and mentalities, promises a thriller before a wildly cheering home crowd for India. The Indian juggernaut will be tough to stop as Team India aims for its first ICC title in 12 years!
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL
Siddhaarth Mahan The writer is a specialist on Sports and Cinema who works as an actor in the Hindi film industry