Australia stuns India to win cricket World Cup

Australia pulls off blinder to win cricket World Cup

Australia has shocked an undefeated India to claim a record-extending sixth cricket World Cup final in one of its greatest one-day victories.

Travis Head produced an innings for the ages to help secure a six-wicket defeat of the host in front of a pro-Indian crowd of 120,000 in Ahmedabad on Monday (AEDT).

Chasing 241 to win, Head hit 137 to get the team out of early trouble and to a comfortable win with seven overs to spare.

His runs came as part of a 192-run fourth-wicket stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who struck a controlled 58 off 110 by turning the strike over and letting Head star.

The pair’s composure was crucial, with Australia teetering on the brink of a collapse at 3-47 when Steve Smith failed to review a Jasprit Bumrah lbw from a ball that hit him outside off.

Together, Head and Labuschagne were able to wrestle back control of the match by regularly finding singles and never being tied down against the spinners.

Getting desperate, India brought back Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in the 24th and 28th overs.

Both times, Head responded by hitting the first deliveries of their spells to the rope and taking any tension out of the situation.

Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell celebrate victory. Photo: Getty

The left-hander brought up his hundred off 95 balls, accelerating as the innings went on and taking complete command of the match.

Regularly targeted with short balls by India’s bowlers, Head swatted them away at will to the legside boundary.

He also slog-swept both Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yavav for sixes, hitting four in total as well as 15 fours.

Head was eventually caught on the boundary trying to bludgeon the winning runs, allowing Glenn Maxwell to take the crowning moment with a pull shot to the legside on his first ball.

‘Unbelievable’ triumph

Australia’s 1999 victory is widely considered the most remarkable of its World Cup wins, but this campaign will not be considered far behind.

The Australians were soundly beaten by India and South Africa in the opening week, and axed wicketkeeper Alex Carey after one game.

Selectors made the call to keep Head in the squad despite nursing a fractured hand back home, while Labuschagne was only brought into the group on Ashton Agar’s calf injury.

Labuschagne said what the team had achieved was “unbelievable”.

“It’s the best achievement I’ve ever been a part of.

“You knew if we played our best cricket, we were a chance. And you know, our bowlers were sensational and then Travis put on a hell of a display and it was great to be a part of it with him.”

Pat Cummins was superb as captain, making the bold call to bowl after winning the toss and banking on batting with the dew at night.

He got his fields right, regularly changed bowlers at the right time and helped pegged India back after they were 2-80 following the first 10 overs.

The captain also took 2-34, becoming the first quick in the tournament to send down 10 overs and not get hit for a boundary.

He claimed the key wicket of Virat Kohli when the megastar chopped on for 54, as India went 98 balls between boundaries and found the rope only four times after the first 10 overs.

India’s Virat Kohli was named Player of the Tournament. Photo: Getty

Around him, Australia’s fielding was far superior to India’s.

The Australians regularly cut down boundaries and Head took a superb catch running back at point to change the match when Glenn Maxwell beat Rohit Sharma in flight on 47 off 31.

Mitchell Starc also removed Shubman Gill early and KL Rahul (66) late to finish with 3-55, while Josh Hazlewood recovered from the early Rohit onslaught to take 2-60.

-with AAP

Topics: cricket
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