After an incredible run of 10 straight wins – nine in the league stage and one in semis – India eventually crumbled in the one that mattered the most. Despite being the outright favourite for the World Cup final on the back of their dominating run and some brilliant individual performances, India lost by six wickets against Australia. Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi felt that the loss was down to sheer overconfidence as the razor-sharp remark went viral on social media.
Afridi’s comment came when he was live on TV on a Pakistan channel, Samaa TV, during India’s innings. The Men in Blue were put to bat first against Australia under tricky conditions. They lost Shubman Gill early for just 4 runs bit Rohit Sharma continued his rampage against the Aussie bowlers, scoring 47 off 31 before India went three down in a space of four balls with the captain and Shreyas Iyer departing successively.
Unimpressed at Iyer’s shot selection in his dismissal to Australia skipper Pat Cummins, Afridi, in an attempt to explain India’s batting performance, said: “Jab aap continue game jeete ja rahe ho toh overconfidence bhi zyada ho jati hai. toh woh cheez aapko marwah deti hai (When you have won all the games continuously, the ‘overconfidence’ is too much. So, this could lead to their downfall).”
India did find a fourth-wicket stand in Virat Kohli and KL Rahul of 67 runs in 18.3 overs, en route to which the former India captain scored a fifty as well, but following his dismissal, the remainder of the line-up fell at regular intervals. India were folded for just 240 runs.
Riding on a valiant partnership between Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, also for the fourth-wicket, of 192 runs, Australia wrapped up the chase with seven overs to spare.
Afridi, speaking on the same channel after the final, was livid at the Indian crowd for not applauding the efforts of Head, who scored 137 runs to become the third Australian centurion in a World Cup final.
He said: “I think we all have experienced this at some point in our career. Whenever we hit a boundary or score a century or take a wicket, there is never any response from the (Indian) crowd. Yesterday when Travis Head scored a century, then the crowd was silent. Why? A sports-loving nation always appreciates every athlete and their efforts, but not getting that from the Indian crowd, which is a so-called-educated crowd was surprising. It was such a massive hundred, at least a few could have stood up to applaud. And the way the team’s body language kept droping, crowd had the same thing going.”