Ahmedabad: Australia lifted their sixth World Cup trophy after defeating India by six wickets in a one-sided final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Travis Head scored a brilliant unbeaten century to guide his team to a comfortable chase of 241 runs after India’s top order collapsed and failed to post a big total.
India, who won the toss and opted to bat first, got off to a good start as captain Rohit Sharma smashed 47 runs off 38 balls, hitting seven fours and a six. However, his dismissal triggered a batting collapse, as India lost Shubman Gill (9), Shreyas Iyer (4), and Rishabh Pant (11) in quick succession. Virat Kohli tried to steady the innings with a patient 54 off 63 balls, but he fell to Pat Cummins in the 32nd over.
KL Rahul was the only other batsman who showed some resistance, scoring 66 off 107 balls, with just one boundary. He added 52 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (23) for the sixth wicket, but India could not accelerate in the death overs. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowled superbly in the final overs, restricting India to 240 for 9 in 50 overs. Starc finished with 3 for 46, while Cummins and Hazlewood took two wickets each.
Australia’s chase got off to a shaky start, as they lost Shaun Marsh (8), David Warner (14) and Steve Smith (12) inside the first 10 overs. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami bowled with pace and accuracy, putting pressure on the Australian batsmen. However, Head and Marnus Labuschagne turned the tide in Australia’s favor with a match-winning partnership of 189 runs for the fourth wicket.
Head played a magnificent knock of 130 not out off 120 balls, hitting 15 fours and two sixes. He dominated the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners, who could not find breakthroughs on the Ahmedabad pitch. Labuschagne supported him well with a sensible 71 not out off 97 balls, hitting six fours. The duo took Australia home with 17 balls to spare, sealing a historic win for their team.
Australia became the first team to win six World Cup titles, extending their lead over India and West Indies, who have won two each. Head was adjudged the man of the match for his match-winning hundred, while Labuschagne was named the man of the series for scoring 421 runs at an average of 84.20. India, aiming for their third World Cup title, had to settle for the runners-up trophy.