Ahmedabad (Uttam Hindu News): India will look to avenge the painful 2003 defeat when they face Australia for the second time in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final on Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium. In 2003, the Ricky Ponting-led Australian team defeated India by 125 runs in the final of the ODI World Cup. It was a one-sided match as India never looked comfortable in the match. However, there has been a significant change in the cricket landscape since then, with India emerging as a formidable force, consistently challenging and winning over Australia in recent years.
In the ongoing ODI World Cup, the Rohit Sharma-led side defeated Australia in the league when the two teams faced each other in Chennai last month. Australia started their ODI World Cup campaign with two consecutive defeats, but the team’s journey of late has been a story of resilience and redemption. Despite stumbling in their initial encounters, the five-time champions regrouped and showcased their cricketing talent to produce a stellar performance in the tournament.
Australia won 7 consecutive games to reach the semi-finals, before defeating South Africa to qualify for the summit clash of the ongoing ODI World Cup. The man who stands strong for Australia is Glenn Maxwell. The star all-rounder has redefined aggression in the middle overs and added a new dimension to Australia’s batting after his heroics against Afghanistan.
If India has to stop Maxwell, then Kuldeep Yadav will play a key role as the spinner has already dismissed the all-rounder in the World Cup. Apart from this, Australia’s weakness against spin was exposed in the semi-final against South Africa.
On the other hand, India’s dominance in the ongoing ODI World Cup is the result of a team effort. Every player rose to the occasion whenever the need arose. While Virat Kohli (711 runs) has been in great form, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record, Mohammed Shami (23 wickets) has wreaked havoc with his explosive spells.
The semi-final win against New Zealand added icing on the cake as India broke the shackles by defeating the Kiwis in the knockout game. In the match, Shami became the only Indian player to take 7 wickets in a World Cup match. India is on a winning streak of 10 matches but Australia has the most experience of playing ODI World Cup finals. The Men in Yellow are eyeing their sixth title win. Both teams have been sensational in the showpiece event and Australia have peaked at the right time.
And if India want to lift the coveted trophy for the third time in World Cup history, Shami will have to work his magic with the seam again. The right-arm fast bowler is a threat to left-handed batsmen and would like to target David Warner and Travis Head.
If India bats first, then captain Rohit Sharma’s excellent start, then Kohli’s cautious innings and late innings from KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will have to post a good score.
If Australia bats first, Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will have to keep them on the back foot, with Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep in the net to dominate the Australian team. If India wins, it will become the only team to win two World Cup titles on home soil. The stage is now set for the grand finale which promises to be a worthy culmination of exhilarating moments and explosive displays of skill by the teams.