Batting, fielding woes on D-Day cost India a World Cup final

Ahmedabad: India missed out on a golden opportunity to become the only country to win two men’s ODI World Cup titles at home at Narendra Modi Stadium.

Australia lifted their sixth men’s ODI World Cup title after defeating the hosts India in the finals of the showpiece event following a scintillating display of batting by Travis Head (137).

Be it batting, bowling, or fielding, Australia completely dominated the set-up and Team India looked clueless in the game. The loss couldn’t be attributed to a single player obviously but there were instances where the team didn’t just put up the show.

Batting first on a pitch which is very slow and a tricky surface, had already put India on the backfoot. Rohit Sharma said he would have batted first only even if India had won the toss.

Australian skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and chose to bowl first so he had a fair share of idea of what could be a par score in this tricky wicket.

Also, when India lost three wickets, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul in order to steady the ship played really slow. The duo added 67 runs in the 18 overs. The defensive approach coupled with Australia’s brilliance in the field made sure, the hosts fell 40-50 runs short.

While both Kohli and Rahul reached their fifties, their failure to capitalize on the starts contributed to India’s struggle. Rahul’s innings of 66 off 107 balls was deemed too slow for modern-day cricket standards. Suryakumar Yadav, coming in after Ravindra Jadeja, faced challenges settling in, hindering India’s scoring momentum. The team could only manage to post a total of 240 runs.

Speaking about the partnership, Dravid in the post-match press conference said, “There was that period where I think the ball was stopping. We weren’t able to get boundaries. We were rotating the strike, but we weren’t able to hit those boundaries. And yeah, there was a conscious effort to try and take the game deep, but we kept losing wickets”.

In the bowling department, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah provided India with a promising start. However, the field setup for a new batsman lacked aggression, missing opportunities to put pressure on the opposition.

India, who had enjoyed a remarkable run in the World Cup with ten consecutive victories, seemed unprepared for a collapse. Coach Dravid acknowledged that the team fell short by 30-40 runs of the par score, emphasising the challenging conditions during their batting innings.

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