India succumb to their first loss of the tournament in the all-important summit clash
AUSTRALIA won a record-extending sixth 50-overs World Cup title after opener Travis Head smashed a magnificent century to fashion their six-wicket victory in Sunday’s (19) final against the tournament’s in-form team India.
Put into bat, India rode battling half-centuries by KL Rahul and Virat Kohli to post a below-par 240 all out in exactly 50 overs at a packed Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Australia suffered a top order wobble of their own but Head’s 137 off 120 balls saw them romp home with seven overs to spare in match that never reached great heights.
Around 93,000 predominantly Indian fans sat mostly in deathly silence as the home team, who had won 10 matches in a row to make the final, succumbed to their first loss of the tournament in the all-important summit clash.
Earlier, Pat Cummins’s decision to field, primarily to avoid operating with a dewy ball in the night, bemused many but Australian bowlers, aided by some superb fielding, stifled their opposition.
India captain Rohit Sharma had been playing tone-setting knocks in their batting template in the tournament and it was no different in the final despite the early loss of Shubman Gill.
Rohit smashed three sixes in his entertaining 47 but fell just before the end of powerplay.
The opener stepped out against Glenn Maxwell but miscued his shot on the offside. Head ran backwards from cover to take a tumbling catch to get rid of the India captain.
Kohli (54) hit Mitchell Starc (3-55) for three boundaries in a row but India slumped to 81-3 in the 11th over when Cummins dismissed Shreyas Iyer caught behind.
Kohli and Rahul (66) then combined in a dour rebuilding job even if it meant going 16.1 overs without a boundary.
Kohli brought up his ninth 50-plus knock in 11 innings but soon departed after chopping a Cummins delivery on to his stumps.
Rahul hit just one four in his half-century illustrating how difficult the pitch was for shot-makers like him.
Australia wicketkeeper Josh Inglis took five catches, which is a record in a World Cup final.
Australia, when they came out to bat, slumped to 47-3 seven overs into what had looked like a straight-forward chase for them.
Head combined with Marnus Labuschagne, who made 58 not out, in a 192-run stand to kill off the contest.