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Cricket World Cup 2023 Mania

The Mega festival of Cricket, the World Cup ended in anti-climax for the host country, India.

Australia humbled the Men in Blue in the final and went home laughing, carrying the glittering World Cup for the sixth time.

The prophecy of the Australian captain, Pat Cummins came true and Australia silenced the crowds at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. No doubt, the Indian team was in tremendous form winning ten matches on the trot.

But in the final, the Indian juggernaut was halted as they had no answer to the superior game planning and execution of the Kiwis. Australia outplayed India in all departments of the game.

This Urdu couplet sums up the Indian defeat:

Kismat ki khubi dekhiye tuti kahan kamand, do-char haath jab ke labe-i-baam rah gaya.

In English , we can say , so near , yet so far off.

Let us have a look at what went wrong for India ?

Australia won the toss and captain Pat Cummins had no hesitation in choosing to field first. His decision proved to be absolutely right. The wicket was double paced and totally dry.

Rohit Sharma said after losing the toss that he would have, in any case chosen to bat. Now the question arises why did BCCI chose a track like that?

Choice of track rests entirely with host nation. Actually, India fell into its own trap. Except skipper Rohit Sharma, the entire Indian team batted as if there was a devil in the pitch.

It is clear that the Australian team management had thoroughly studied the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian team and played on their weaknesses.

Pat Cummins knew that Indians were following a set game plan and Rohit was going to attack bowling right from the beginning. Within the first ten overs, he brought in part time off spinner, Glen Maxwell.

Rohit fell to the bait and went in for a big drive scooping up the ball. Travis head ran backward and held a splendid catch. India were down three wickets for around 80 runs with Shubham Gill, Shreyas Iyer, and Rohit gone.

K L Rahul now joined Kohli. Both went into their shell and boundaries dried up totally. They went on the defensive as if there was devil in the wicket. No doubt Australian fielding was exceptional but slow batting cost India the match.

The entire Indian team fell for a meagre total of 240 as middle order collapsed. Pitch eased out to some extend in the evening and dew factor also added to India’s woes.

The Indian spin maestro R Ashwin dissected the smart tactics employed by the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup-winning captain to contain the opposition's batters.

In his latest YouTube video 'World Cup 2023: A Reflection', R Ashwin dissected the genius of Pat Cummins in the final, referring to his spell as a 'game-breaking' phenomenon.

After winning the toss, the Australian skipper sent India in to bat first, a decision that turned out to be a crucial move. Cummins bowled his complete 10-over quota and gave away just 34 runs. He scalped the prized wicket of Virat Kohli and in form Shreyas Iyer. Mitchell Stark took three wickets and Hazelwood two.

For Australia, Travis Head smashed 137 off 120 balls while Labuschagne played a patient knock of 58 off 110 balls to guide Kiwis to a convincing win.

When Australia took the podium at the Narendra Modi stadium, the side was lifting the trophy for a record sixth occasion. Their first-ever win in the tournament came in 1987 when Allan Border’s men downed England in a close contest at the Eden Gardens.

They went on to win the trophy in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015 before completing a full circle in India in 2023. This makes them the most successful side in the tournament. In fact, the only other teams with more than one triumph in the tournament are West Indies (1975, 1979) and India (1983, 2011).

With eight appearances in 13 finals, they have also featured in the most finals in the tournament. India and England come joint-second with four appearances each.

Travis Head’s magnificent 137 helped Australia charge towards a sixth World Cup triumph. He was the seventh centurion in a World Cup final, becoming the second player after Sri Lanka’s Aravindan de Silva to ton up in a chase.

De Silva’s 107* led the island nation to triumph against Australia in 1996.

A tactically brilliant Australia and an ill-chosen pitch may have been their undoing in the final, but India 2023 was a team that had much going for it. Virat Kohli was adjudged man of the tournament scoring 765 runs at staggering average of 95.62.

India may have lost the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 to Australia, but the tournament left an indelible mark on the cricketing landscape. Apart from its share of nail-biting finishes, there were also a few memorable firsts, from Rohit Sharma becoming the first player to score seven centuries in World Cups to Virat Kohli beating his idol Sachin Tendulkar’s record to become the first player to score 50 ODI centuries.

The pre-match talk ahead of the 2023 Cricket World Cup finals circled around whether the men in blue, led by Rohit Sharma, were the strongest Indian ODI team ever. No one bothered with head-to-head comparisons between India and Australia; instead, the only match-ups that interested the pundits were ‘India in 1983’ vs ‘India in 2011’ vs ‘India 2023’.

The verdict was unanimous, with scales heavily tilted in favour of the current Indian bunch. But as soon as the dust settled and Australia were crowned six-time world champions, the question that popped up was: ‘How will history remember India’s class of 2023 after they dominated the tournament so thoroughly, only to fall short at the final hurdle?’

“Even if you ask me years later, I’ll remember this World Cup for the domination and intimidation of this Indian team over every other team,” says Robin Uthappa, member of India’s 2007 T20 World Cup-winning team.

“They made all of us Indians feel invincible. The past 45 days have been exceptional for Indian cricket.” Such sentiments are rarely expressed in cricket-mad India, especially when the country has been starved for an ICC title for over a decade. Yet, this time, that’s exactly how ‘bleed-blue’ faithful’s seem to have responded to India’s loss in the finals—perhaps a testament to how good the men in blue were throughout the tournament and the joy fans experienced .

After loss of World Cup, some of men in blue cried like kids. Some clutched their heads in despair. Some covered their faces with caps. Anushka Sharma wife of Virat Kohli and Athiya Shetty wife of KL Rahul hugged their husbands to console them.

In a tweet, Rahul confessed, ‘Still hurts’. Move On, advised Veteran cricketer, Kapil Dev , legendary captain of 1983 World Cup winning squad. Rahul is still young, learning to control his emotions while Kapil has seen it all and done it all.

We are all brought up to consider, winning is everything. Even at school, we are taught, coming first is everything.

Nobody remembers who came second. Let us accept it. Losing the cup affected us all. Speaking about Australians, former cricketer, Michael Hussey said, Winning is in our DNA.

The big positive is that majority of Indian fans continue to extend unconditional support to men in blue.

There is disappointment but not anger. No doubt our boys played exceptional cricket emerging top team in the league stage of the tournament. Winning all their matches convincingly. they faltered in the final.

Records weren’t just broken on the pitch, Disney+ Hotstar broke the peak simultaneous viewership record on TV with a record 5.9 crore people watching

the finals between India and Australia.

That helped the platform surpass streaming records set at the beginning of the tournament with 3.5 crore viewers watching the India-Pakistan match.

This showed Indians love for the game of cricket.

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