Aiming to bag a record-extending sixth title, Australia face unbeaten India at the 2023 World Cup final, in Ahmedabad on Sunday. The Narendra Modi Stadium is expected to be packed as fans have flocked to Gujarat’s capital city for the ultimate showdown.
For Australia, it will be a huge task, considering India’s unbeaten run in this tournament and their advantage as hosts. Australia are also not to be written off, as they already proved during the league stage. The Aussies began their campaign on a stuttering note, losing to India and South Africa in their opening two matches. But since then, they haven’t looked back and it has been a tale of determination, grit, resurgence and Adam Zampa’s spin magic.
The spinner has been a key for Pat Cummins as Australia stitched together an unbeaten run after their opening two defeats, to finish in third place and qualify for the semi-finals. In the semis, Australia defeated South Africa by three wickets. Speaking on Sky Sports Cricket, 2019 World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan had some special advice for Cummins ahead of the title showdown.
The former England cricketer pointed out pacer Josh Hazlewood has a good record against Virat Kohli, who is currently the highest run-scorer in this tournament. Morgan also feels that if AUstralia manage to ‘knock over’ Rohit Sharma early, then it could have a huge impact on the match.
“The accuracy that the likes of Josh Hazlewood brings to any attack and his record against Virat Kohli is excellent. So either him or Mitchell Starc who has swung the ball more than anybody in this tournament so far and can take early wickets. They really work well and can put India on their backfoot, particularly if they knock over their captain Rohit Sharma, who in this tournament has struck at a 126 and his career strike rate in India is just over a 100. So if they can see him off early and make inroads for the likes of Zampa to come in the middle period and possibly Maxwell, others like Travis Head who was the Man of the Match in the semifinal. They are just a side who seem to adapt and find a way. This is very characteristic of Australian cricketing culture, they just find a way to compete across all formats,” he said.
“Since Pat Cummins has taken over, they have only gone from strength to strength. They retained the Ashes and tomorrow presents a big opportunity for him to walk in the footsteps of Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, big names of Australian cricket. Huge opportunity, but landing that first blow will be unbelievably important. Whether it’s with ball in hand, Starc, Hazlewood or bat. Travis Head and David Warner certainly know how to set the tone. Given the threat that Bumrah, Siraj, Shami have posed to every other team in this tournament, if a side can get ahead early, it really does calm a changing room and set the rest of the day up,” he further added.
This is the second time both sides are meeting in a ODI World Cup final, having met each other in the 2003 title showdown. At the 2003 World Cup final, a Ricky Ponting-led inspired Australia thrashed Sourav Ganguly’s India in the final.