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Old 20-11-23, 01:18   #1
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Movies Australia Crowned Cricket World Cup Champions For Sixth Time

Australia Crowned Cricket World Cup Champions For Sixth Time

Ahmedabad: Australia (241-4) Beat India (240) by Six Wickets

Guardian Australia 20 NOV 2023

Australia claim their sixth 50-over title with ruthless display. Pat Cummins (left) with Travis Head, whose 137 off 120 balls carried Australia to the finish line.

As Pat Cummins and his players basked in the afterglow of a sixth men’s World Cup title for Australia – a contender for their greatest, no question – thousands of Indian supporters poured out of this giant cricketing coliseum in a state of utter disbelief.

Gone was the notion of this day fulfilling India’s destiny in their home tournament, a fine team with some all-time greats – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, no less – seeing a searing run of 10 successive wins evaporate at the last. Cummins, a Blue Mountains boy in an ocean of blue shirts, had masterminded a truly famous heist.

Even after India had stumbled and scratched their way to 240 all out on a grim, slow pitch, their adoring, if chiefly reactive supporters had instant cause for hope. In a helter-skelter start to the chase that had all the hallmarks of India’s journey to this point, Bumrah and Mohammed Shami wreaked what appeared to be match-winning havoc.

But from 47 for three in seven utterly madcap overs – Steve Smith the last to fall lbw and failing to call for the review that would have saved him – two batters in Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne displayed the kind of resilience and skill that has run though Australian cricket history like the words through a stick of canary yellow rock.

Head missed the first five games of the tournament with a fractured hand but Cummins, knowing his value, did not blink. And the gamble to keep the spot open delivered the ultimate payout at the end, a masterful 137 from 120 balls – alloyed by a steadfast 58 not out from Labuschagne – reeling in the target, four wickets down with seven overs to spare.

As Labuschagne chiselled away at one end, blunting India’s spinners, the South Australian southpaw with the bushy moustache had taken on the riskier role, crunching 15 fours and four sixes. Among them was a four that greeted what felt like Shami’s pivotal return in the 24th over, Head sending it back whence it came en route to his 95-ball century.

Head fell two short of the target but if anything, it afforded a deserved solo moment in the spotlight; a chance for the remaining supporters to pay their dues. Kohli graciously raced up to offer a pat on the back, Head having become the third Australian man after Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting to score a century in a World Cup final.



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