RugbyMajestic Australia make it six!
─── MORGAN PIEK 07:38 Mon, 20 Nov 2023
“Just to come to India and beat them in India, they were ten from ten with one game to play and they have been the team of the tournament. They have been unbelievable, but you knew that if we played our best cricket then we'd have a chance.”
Australia are the ICC Cricket World Cup champions for a record-extending sixth time after beating India by six-wickets in the final that was played in Ahmedabad.
Australia won the toss and asked the host India to have a bat first and a very disciplined fielding display led to the men in blue being bowled out for 240-runs in 50-overs.
KL Rahul top-scored with 66-runs, while Virat Kohli was dismissed for 54, and the captain Rohit Sharma contributed with 47.
Mitchell Starc was brilliant with the ball again and took 3/55, while the captain Pat Cummins took 2/34 in his 10-overs.
In reply, Australia were in a spot of bother after 7 overs with David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith all being back in the shed cheaply and with the score on 47/3.
However, Travis Head, stole the show again, like he did against the Proteas, and scored a brilliant 137-runs, but he lost his wicket with two-runs required for the win.
A ball later, Glenn Maxwell, scored the winning runs, while the Klerksdorp-born Marnus Labuschagne scored 58 not out.
Pat Cummins, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne - Cricinfo
Labuschagne, who nearly didn’t go to the World Cup said beating India in the final is something special.
“What we achieved today is unbelievable - it's the best achievement I have ever been a part of,” said Labuschagne.
“Just to come to India and beat them in India, they were ten from ten with one game to play and they have been the team of the tournament. They have been unbelievable, but you knew that if we played our best cricket then we'd have a chance.
“Our bowlers were sensational and then Travis put on one hell of a display and it was great to be a part of it with him.”
Meanwhile, late on Saturday night the Proteas arrived back in South Africa following their campaign, which was one of their best to date, despite falling just short.
On Thursday the Proteas were knocked out of the World Cup with a heart-breaking three-wicket defeat to Australia in Kolkata.
While the Proteas lost in the semi-finals, this was a team that until a few months ago didn’t know if they were going to earn automatic qualification or not.
Rob Walter - Morgan Piek
The Proteas coach, Rob Walter, said there were objectives achieved and he remains incredibly proud of his team.
“Our main object really was to continue playing the cricket that we had been playing all year,” said Walter.
“We really tried to push the brand of cricket - a nice exciting brand of cricket that will get the people excited while watching.
“That was the first mandate, to do that a World Cup and I thought that the guys did that excellently well. It was reflected in the performance in the pool stages of the competition. I'm very proud of the way the guys played.
“Obviously everyone’s disappointed by the semi-final loss, and none more so than the players and the coaching staff themselves, but I walk away very proud of the performance on the team.”
The Proteas will enjoy a short break before shifting focus to the incoming series against India which will start next month.
This will be the start of their journey to the 2027 Cricket World Cup that will be played in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Morgan Piek OFM Sport