The Cricket World Cup ended bitterly with a storm erupting around Australia’s celebrations.
Cricket commentators were angered by the response from spectators inside the colossal 130,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium during the trophy presentation that followed. Australia’s historic victory over hosts India in Ahmedabad.
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The most shocking act occurred when on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth were called to the podium to receive their mementos – only to be booed by the remaining crowd for no apparent reason.
There weren’t any particularly controversial calls throughout the game – and it seemed like fans simply needed to find some sort of target to express their disappointment in seeing their team fall at the final hurdle.
It was one of several acts by the mob that sparked outrage, including the moment Australian hero Travis Head spoke about his hundred.
Head’s extraordinary 137 from 120 balls was a man-of-the-match performance and was only the seventh World Cup final hundred after Viv Richards in 1979, Clive Lloyd in 1983, Aravinda de Silva in 1996, Ricky Ponting in 2003, Adam Gilchrist in 2007 and Mahela Jayawardene in 2011.
Despite this, the home crowd gave him nothing when he raised his bat.
On television, it sounded like the kind of applause you might hear for a regulation drive hit off the tee at a minor golf tournament.
Leading cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan earlier posted on Twitter: “Some 80 people among the 11,000+ present at the Narendra Modi Stadium applauded as Travis Head raised his bat after reaching his 50th.
“Must feel like an end-of-season #SheffieldShield game at the Adelaide Oval.”
There is no doubt, however, that the most vicious response was reserved for the match officials.
The commentator behind Edgar Allan Poeha’s high-profile Twitter account posted: “I couldn’t believe my ears but they booed the refs????
“The empty seats once India start losing, the inability to cheer for a spectacular innings and a well-deserved World Cup win, the boos from the umpires, the screams of KohliKohli when their players are announced, and now That. It was deeply embarrassing. And on the world stage.
Indian comedian Anshu Mor wrote: “The crowd was booing the referees receiving the medals, then shouting Rohit Rohit when the Australian team received their medals – absolute assholes!!
“Cities with a great cricket culture like Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata should organize these big matches.”
There were scenes of devastation after Australia chased India’s total of 240 with 42 balls in reserve.
Most notably, the trophy was handed over on the field while the Indian team was nowhere to be seen.
“It’s a desolate scene from India’s point of view,” said the BBC’s Matthew Henry.
“Some stayed for the presentation. Most didn’t.
The result shattered India’s dreams of ending a world title drought that dated back to the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma admitted that Australia were simply the better team of the day.
“With 240 board members, we wanted early wickets, but credit to Travis Head and Marnus,” Rohit said.
“They completely knocked us out and I thought the wicket was getting better under the lights. I mean, we knew under the lights it would be better, but we don’t want to give that as an excuse.