India were the best side over the course of 10 matches and showed an unparalleled dominance, excelling in both batting and bowling. The prospect of clinching a third World Cup title seemed almost certain to many. However, in the final match, India faltered. Many attributed it to Australia’s innate prowess in crunch matches — they were the most dominant force in World Cup history and now clinched their sixth World Cup title.
A pivotal factor in Australia’s victory on Sunday can be traced back to the beginning of the match. Pat Cummins, after winning the toss, elected to bowl first and his bowlers stepped up and restricted India to just 240 runs on a slow and sluggish track.
There were reports that suggested that it was the Indian management that opted for a slow wicket at the Narendra Modi Stadium for the grand final. Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh, speaking to India Today, expressed shock at the decision, believing that a true and quick track would have allowed India’s in-form batting lineup to make a difference in the game.
It’s worth noting that the same Ahmedabad track saw IPL franchise Gujarat Titans amass over 200 runs on five occasions in the last season, including 233 runs in the playoffs and 214 in the final.
Harbhajan said that India would have had an advantage if there was no tinkering with the pitch. “I spoke to a couple of my Aussie friends who I played with in my era. And all of them, they said, India is just top side, and it will be India all the way, But, of course, the Australian team they came out with the plan, they executed well, and they played fantastic cricket. And, of course, if the wicket was on slightly on a better side, one with the ball coming nicely onto the bat, Uh, you know, I think, we would have enjoyed more,” he said.
Travis Head was the star with the bat and he led Australia’s charge in the chase. The conditions improved as the match progressed and this allowed the batters to time their strokes far better.