Australia’s grizzly-haired veterans brought all their big-match experience to the fore, restricting a hitherto buoyant India to 240 total in the World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday. Their dominance over the hosts had several focal points, while India produced a few moments through the 50s through Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Here’s a look at the important moments of the match.
Rohit lives by the sword
Right from the start of the tournament, Rohit batted with only one speed, as evidenced by his strike rate of 126. On that day, the Mumbaikar made runs at 151. His strategy was clear, blunting the new Australian ball bowlers and the skipper blasted two. six against paceman Josh Hazlewood to give his team some early momentum.
But Rohit’s innings didn’t transform into something bigger. His effort to hoist off-spinner Glenn Maxwell above the ring ended when Travis Head took a fine running-diving catch towards sweeper cover. Australia also took India’s lead at this time.
The Australian team
The Antipodeans have always been a very good team on the pitch, and they raised the bar even higher in the summit clash. Travis Head took this brilliant catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma and David Warner made more than one diving save near the ropes to save boundaries, leaving the Indian batters a little frustrated.
It also forced them to change their enthusiastic approach that they have followed so far in the tournament. Cummins also made some great field goals.
When Kohli and Rahul were batting, the Australian skipper opened the cover zone with a sweeper in place and closed ranks around the square and middle leg areas. It was a clear ploy to force the Indian batters to take more risks to take quick runs, or to face these simple workers at covers and leg sides.
Edgy Gill and Shreyas
It was the first 50-over World Cup final for Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer, and they looked a little nervous. Gill was like a cat on a hot tin roof and hardly offered a quiet moment. His harrowing spell at the crease ended when a half-hearted left-arm pacer, Mitchell Starc, found Adam Zampa at the edge of the circle.
Shreyas came to this match with back-to-back hundreds against Netherlands and New Zealand. But this afternoon, his innings lasted only three balls. Cummins caught him rooted to the crease with a delivery that went back just enough at just the right pace.
Kohli and Rahul stand
They joined forces when India was shaking at 81 for 3, but Kohli and Rahul assessed the conditions very well and bowled, set out to make a steady 67 runs for the fourth wicket. It was more laborious than spectacular, but it was what India needed at that time.
In fact, the entire alliance had only one boundary, but India largely recovered from that until Kohli (54) clipped one from Pat Cummins onto his stumps.
However, Rahul (66) continued to lead the innings together with composed innings.
Captain Cummins and his bowlers
Throughout this showpiece, Pat Cummins, the bowler was conspicuous by his absence. Before this match, the pacer’s run rate was above six and he took 13 wickets in 10 matches. But he would have liked to have had a bigger impact, and the New South Welshman chose the best opportunity to make his mark.
He got the big wickets of Kohli and Shreyas in form to keep India in check, and also bowled an economical spell. Pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood also helped him take five wickets among them on a pitch that had very little for their type of bowlers, using countless variations. The spinners – Adam Zampa, Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head – also stifled the running flow in the middle period. They barely allowed the Indians to cross the boundary, a vital part of India’s batting supremacy in the tournament so far.
There were two extended boundary droughts in the hosts’ innings, the Rahul-Kohli stand where India managed a single four, and in the period between the 41st and 50th overs, a phase where India managed only two fours thanks to Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.
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