“In sport, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent and that’s the aim for us.”
Australia captain Pat Cummins said that before Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final and on the day of the clash, his team turned that into reality.
A crowd of 92,453 at the Narendra Modi Stadium – nearly all of them dressed in India’s blue jerseys – were silenced as Australia stunned hosts India for a six-wicket victory and lifted the trophy once again.
The result was a heartbreak for team India, who had been invincible up until the final, having won 10 matches in a row.
“I think we ran a really good campaign. Just at the last step in the final we probably didn’t have our best game and credit to Australia,” India head coach Rahul Dravid told reporters after the match.
“My congratulations to them. They played really well on the day and they were better than us.”
India were outclassed by Australia in every department and were on the back foot right from when they lost the toss.
Being put in to bat first on a slow and challenging pitch, India could only manage 240 runs as only two of their batsmen – Virat Kohli and KL Rahul – scored half-centuries. Captain Rohit Sharma also chipped in with 47, but opener Shubman Gill and the rest of the middle-order crumbled.
In the second innings, Indian bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami took three quick wickets, giving India a decent start, but the hosts could not stop the solid partnership between Marnus Labuschagne (58) and Travis Head (137).
Middle-order batsman Head struck a sensational century, smashing 15 fours and four sixes, to guide Australia to a comfortable win in the end, as the Aussies wrapped up the match with seven overs to spare.
Cummins said lifting the 50-overs world title was “the pinnacle of international cricket”.
“Winning a one-day World Cup, especially over here in India, in front of a crowd like this. Yeah, that’s huge,” Cummins told reporters.
“It’s been a big year for everyone, but our cricket team has been here in India, Ashes, World Test Championship and top it off with this is just huge and these are the moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”
Sunday’s match was a recap of the 2003 World Cup final, where Australia had beaten India by 125 runs. The Aussies are now six-times world champions, while India have won the title twice – in 1983 and 2011.
While team India’s performance was poor on Sunday, the support from the crowd in Ahmedabad was underwhelming too. The Indian fans at the venue failed to live up to the tag of “home support” as thousands of them left before the end of the match and the consequent presentation ceremony.
There was also deafening silence during the match on some occasions, as the crowd did not cheer for the Men in Blue while they were struggling to fight their way back into the game. That made for a sorry image after India’s flawless route to the final.