In 1983, in India’s first appearance in the ODI World Cup final, Viv Richards looked on-song to take the mighty West Indies, also the then defending champions, past the target of 184 at the Lord’s. He had already smashed seven boundaries in 28 balls to help recover his side from an early blow. But one single moment change the entire momentum of West Indies’ chase. As Richards looked to take down the shorter delivery from Madan Lal, for a boundary over midwicket, captain Kapil Dev stopped his efforts with a brilliant running catch, which later made its way into cricketing folklore. 40 years later, as India captain Rohit Sharma looked on a rampage against Australia in the final in Ahmedabad, his efforts were stopped by a similar catch from Travis Head. Could this turn out to be a similar match-changing moment for Australia?
In the final over of the powerplay, Australia captain Pat Cummins brought Glenn Maxwell into the attack. Rohit punished him with a four and a six at the start of the over before the offie dished out a flighted ball angling away as the India opener stepped for a lofted shot over mid-on. Head, who was running backwards from cover-point, stretched full length for a dive and completed a clean catch to deny Rohit a fifty in the final. He was dismissed for 47 off 31.
An elated Ian Smith, who was at commentary box during that delivery, called it, “one of the great catches”, before he went on to say, “This was the turning point for me,” shortly after India lost Shreyas Iyer for just four runs.
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Earlier in the match, Australia had opted to bowl first after winning the toss and while Rohit stuck to his aggressive gameplan, taking down Josh Hazelwood in particular, who had dismissed him for a duck in their league-stage meeting last month, Shubman Gill was dismissed in the fifth over of the match for just 4 off 7.