Mohammed Shami adopted a Stuart Broad-like strategy against David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah took on Mitchell Marsh with a short-ball challenge, and Steve Smith’s erroneous use of the DRS energized the Ahmedabad crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday evening.
Although India’s target of 241 was deemed insufficient, the early dismissal of three Australian wickets for just 47 runs brought hope. The Indian bowlers, acknowledged as the best-ever attack throughout the 2023 World Cup, stirred anticipation among the crowd.
However, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne’s resilient partnership against Shami and Bumrah silenced the home crowd as they constructed a formidable 192-run stand, dashing the hopes of a billion Indian fans.
India was widely expected to win the final, backed by their in-form top-order batters and an exceptional bowling unit. Even in the absence of Hardik Pandya, the team seemed well-balanced and had set a new benchmark for dominance in a World Cup edition, surpassing their 2011 and 1983 squads.
Regrettably, India faltered in the crucial match, succumbing to exceptional captaincy from Pat Cummins and Head’s record-breaking 137 runs, leaving the home team devastated. Emotions ran high in the dressing room, evident from tears rolling down Mohammed Siraj’s cheeks and KL Rahul’s dejected stance. Rohit Sharma tried to conceal his emotions, but his eyes betrayed him. Virat Kohli sought refuge behind his cap, shielding his emotions from the world.
Addressing the media post the six-wicket loss in the final, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid acknowledged the overwhelming emotions in the dressing room due to the collective effort and sacrifices made by the team throughout their journey to reach this pinnacle moment after a decade-long ICC trophy drought.
Dravid empathized with the disappointment and emphasized the resilience to bounce back, drawing from his own experiences from the 2007 World Cup. He highlighted the essence of learning from defeats, asserting that the team would reflect, learn, and move forward, as that is the essence of sportsmanship.