Australia won a record-extending sixth 50-overs World Cup title after opener Travis Head smashed a magnificent century to fashion their six-wicket victory in Sunday’s final against the tournament’s form team India.
Put into bat, India rode battling half-centuries by KL Rahul and Virat Kohli to post a below-par 240 all out in exactly 50 overs at a packed Narendra Modi Stadium.
Australia suffered a top order wobble of their own but Head’s 137 off 120 balls saw them romp home with seven overs to spare in match that never reached great heights.
The majority of those present in the 132,000 capacity ground sat in deathly silence as the home team, who had won 10 matches in a row to make the final, succumbed to their first loss of the tournament in the all-important summit clash.
“What we’ve achieved today is unbelievable,” a teary-eyed Marnus Labuschagne, who combined with Head in a match-winning partnership of 192, said.
“It’s the best achievement I’ve ever been part of.
“India have been the team of the tournament, but you knew if you play your best cricket, you have a chance.”
Earlier, Pat Cummins’s decision to field, primarily to avoid operating with a dewy ball in the night, bemused many but Australian bowlers, aided by some superb fielding, stifled their opposition.
India captain Rohit Sharma had been playing tone-setting knocks in their batting template in the tournament and it was no different in the final despite the early loss of Shubman Gill.
Rohit smashed three sixes in his entertaining 47 but fell just before the end of powerplay.
The opener stepped out against Glenn Maxwell but miscued his shot on the offside. Head ran backwards from cover to take a tumbling catch to get rid of the India captain.
Kohli (54) hit Mitchell Starc (3-55) for three boundaries in a row but India slumped to 81-3 in the 11th over when Cummins dismissed Shreyas Iyer caught behind.
Kohli and Rahul (66) then combined in a dour rebuilding job even if it meant going 16.1 overs without a boundary.