The Indian cricket team stumbled on the final hurdle in their quest for World Cup glory. Rohit Sharma and Co. were bowled out for 240 before Australia strode to a six-wicket win in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. We take a look at the five turning points that led to India’s defeat in the final.
Shubman Gill fails to fire
Put into bat on a slow pitch, the Indian opener encountered difficulty in stroke-making. Rohit Sharma batted fluently at one end but Shubman Gill couldn’t provide India with a strong start in the final. A solid opening start was the success formula of the team’s previous 10-match unbeaten run in the tournament.
The Australian bowlers read the conditions well, utilising slower deliveries to stop the Indian batters from playing their shots early on. Gill made an early exit, failing to make a significant impact on the scoring. Similarly, Rohit Sharma continued to take the attack to Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in the initial phase of the innings before he was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell.
Slow middle overs
Following Shubman Gill’s dismissal in the fifth over, Rohit Sharma continued to play attacking strokes, contributing a 31-ball 47 before getting out in the 10th over.
Despite the skipper’s departure, India were in a comfortable position at 80/2 at that stage. However, it was in the next 20 overs that India lost the match. Following the dismissal of Shreyas Iyer (4), India were 81/3 in the 11th over.
Virat Kohli and KL Rahul got down to shore the Indian innings. The duo put on a 67-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But the Australians kept a check on the Indian batters. The Indian duo took minimal risk and failed to take the attack to the Australians. In the 11 to 20 overs phase, India could only accumulate only 35 runs for a loss of one wicket. In the 21 to 30 overs phase, India could score only 37 runs for the loss of one wicket. Overall, India scored only 13 boundaries and three sixes in the entire innings.
Holding back Suryakumar Yadav
Indian batters struggled to score on a slow pitch and were 148/4 at one stage. Virat Kohli had just departed for a 63-ball 54. Everyone expected Suryakumar Yadav to join KL Rahul in the middle, yet, to the surprise of many, Ravindra Jadeja took the crease. The all-rounder was expected to accelerate India’s run rate, but Jadeja could only muster a 22-ball 9 before returning to the pavilion.
In hindsight, it appears India missed an opportunity by not sending Suryakumar Yadav up in the batting order. Renowned for his big-hitting prowess, had the Mumbai batter come in earlier and played in his characteristic style, India might have achieved a more formidable score on the board.
Not bowling Mohammed Siraj early
During India’s impressive 10-match winning streak, the bowlers played a pivotal role in securing victories. The pace combination of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj was particularly effective in providing early breakthroughs for the team. However, on the crucial day, Rohit Sharma opted to open the bowling with Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. While this decision led to a promising start, with Australia reduced to 47/3, opting not to hand the new Mohammed Siraj proved detrimental for India. Siraj, known for his potency with the new ball, was less effective when brought in as the first change, especially bowling with a slightly older ball in the middle overs.
Not going for the kill
India had Australia reeling at 47/3 early on in defence of a modest total. Early breakthroughs by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami rekindled India’s prospects in the match.
However, the team couldn’t capitalise on the advantageous situation. The Men in Blue failed to exert pressure on the opponent and conceded the momentum.
Travis Head (137) and Marnus Labuschagne (58) put on a 192-run partnership for the fourth wicket to steer Australia out of danger and set them up for a historic sixth World Cup title. If India had seized the opportunity and capitalised on Australia’s poor start, the outcome of the final could have been different for Rohit Sharma and Co.
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