Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar stuck his neck out to predict a huge first innings total for India after Australia captain Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to field first in the World Cup 2023 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. India have been in stellar form in this World Cup. They are the only unbeaten side in the tournament. With 10 wins on the trot, the Rohit Sharma-led side has created the longest winning streak in Indian cricket’s World Cup history and Gavaskar believes they could win the tournament unbeaten by beating Australia in the final, provided they get off to a good start.
Gavaskar said there is no need to do anything different. India openers Rohit and Shubman Gill should just play their natural game and if they can do that, a 300-plus score should be on the cards.
“Just play your game, watch the ball and concentrate on the next one. With the kind of form batting India are in, if they get off to a good start, a 300-plus total is on the cards. I know this is a big ground, hitting sixes won’t be easy but as we’ve seen before, it is difficult to stop this Indian batting unit, if they are off to a great start,” he said in the pre-match show on Star Sports.
Rohit has been unstoppable in the powerplay. The Indian captain has the most runs and the best strike in the first 10 overs in this World Cup and he is one of the major reasons why India have been able to get off to flying starts whether batting first or chasing in this tournament. It won’t be that easy against Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
The only match where Rohit failed to give India a good start in this World Cup was against Australia when Josh Hazlewood trapped him in front.
Rohit will have Gill for company at the top of the order. He too will have his hands full against Starc, who would aim for his pads with the new ball.
Cummins said the dew factor was one of the major reasons behind his decision to bowl first. “Dew is a factor. It gets better to bat on. Tough start to the tournament, haven’t really put a foot wrong ever since. It’s all set up perfectly. We’ve played these guys a lot,” he said at the toss.
Rohit, however, said he would have batted first anyway. This means we are in for a cracker of a contest as both teams have got what they wanted. “I would have batted first. Looks a good pitch, big game, put runs on the board,” he said.
There were talks about Ravichandran Ashwin getting a game because of the dry nature of the pitch but India decided not to tinker with their winning combination. This is the 7th match of the trot with the same team for India.
Australia too decided against making any changes.
Rohit acknowledged the nature of the occasions and the pressure of playing in front of potentially 1.3 lakh people. “It’s going to be amazing, every time we play here, the crowd come out in large numbers. The biggest occasion in cricket. We have to stay nice and calm. It’s a dream come true to be captaining the team in the final. I know what lies in front of us. We need to play well and get the result. You have to make the right decisions on the field. That’s something we’ve done consistently in the last 10 games,” he said.
India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Australia Playing XI: Travis Head, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis(w), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins(c), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood