IND vs AUS: 10 wins in 10 games, a team full of champions and match winners. Highest run-scorer, highest wicket-taker, player of the tournament and much more. All of these record holders were in Rohit Sharma’s Indian team but one thing which eluded the juggernaut side was that coveted trophy with World Cup written on it. The Indian campaign which began with a clash against Australia, came to a circle with the finale between these two sides but the hosts missed that fairy tale ending.
India had defeated everyone on their way to this World Cup. They were dreaming of lifting that crown again. The dream didn’t seem to be naive either. Their performances were drawn parallel to the Australian invincibles of 2003 and 2007 and they were one step short of emulating it. After that dominance in the previous matches, everyone came together to celebrate an Indian win as if the script was prepared by supernatural powers above human interference. It seemed the universe powers are possibly going India’s way in this tournament as they sent a thrashing to many team they faced in the competition. The final was a clash between this tournament’s best team (India) and the best team in the history of the tournament (Australia). It did not go as thought on the final night for the hosts.
Australia did what they is all about. This was not the 2003 or 2007 Australian side or not maybe close to those either. But this Indian team was probably the best you would see for a long time and many of you would have ever seen. This breaks the Indian hearts more. But this is what sport is. Australia were surprisingly not the favourites going into this game but as they say, ‘the one who plays better on a given day is the ultimate winner of the day’.
India played better than all the nine other competing teams in all the previous encounters. They were hardly put in serious trouble in the group stage and found success against New Zealand in semis not by a big margin but not by a small either. It was all on that one day that took this team from the top of the world to the second best.
One can argue that the conditions have played a part in deciding the outcome of this game. It was sluggish when they batted and eased a bit in the chase. But there shall be nothing to take away from Australia. They bowled an Indian batting lineup which has scored 357, 326, 410 and 397 in their previous games for just 240. They were up against some magical bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami under the lights with the new ball in the powerplay of the chase. But they first survived to perfection before pushing India out of the game. Australia got their hands on the World Cup, India left heartbroken but would take heart from what they have done. A fairy tale ending just got missed for the Indians.
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