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ICC Cricket World Cup Analysis

By: Yuvraj Siddhartha Singh

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, is an international championship of one day international (ODI) cricket of 50 overs. The event is organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC), every four years, with qualification rounds leading up to the final tournament. The tournament is one of the world’s most viewed sporting events and considered as the ‘flagship event of the international cricket calendar by ICC’. It is considered to be the pinnacle championship of cricket. The first World Cup was organised in England in June 1975.

The first three tournaments were held in England. From 1987 onwards, the tournament’s hosting has been shared between countries under an unofficial rotation system, with fourteen ICC members having hosted at least one match in the tournament. In the tournament phase, 10 teams, including the qualifying host nation, compete for the title at venues within the host nation over about a month. In the 2027 edition, the format will be changed to accommodate an expanded 14-team final competition. A total of twenty teams have competed in the 13 editions of the tournament, with ten teams competing in the 2023 tournament. Australia has won the tournament six times, India and West Indies twice each, while Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England have won it once each. The ICC World Cup Cricket Final 2023 has been a tremendous success for the organisers and global viewers have been glued to TV screens. Ofcourse diehard cricket fans have travelled all over India to the match venues. 19th November 2023 is etched in the name of Travis Head, a cricketer par excellence. Australia stunned India to win by six wickets in the Cricket World Cup final, as the scores were Australia (241-4) to beat India (240) by six wickets. This is Australia’s sixth 50 over title withn an impeccable performance.

Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi, Sh. Amit Shah, Home Minister, Shahrukh Khan with family, and the legendary cricketers were seen at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. As Pat Cummins, the Australian captain and his players basked in the celebration of sixth Men’s World Cup title for Australia, nearly 1.25 lakhs Indians were shocked in disbelief! What really happened to the performance of the Indian contingent led by Rohit Sharma. India had Virat Kohli, K. L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma, but 10 successive wins evaporated at the final stage. Pat Cummins had masterminded a truly deserved win. Even after India had stumbled and scratched their way to 240 all out on a slow pitch, from 47 for three in seven utterly madcap overs, Steve Smith the last to fall on LBW did not go in for the review that might have saved him? The two batters Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne displayed the kind of resilience and cricketing skills that were finely executed. Travis Head missed the first five games of the tournament with a fractured hand but Cummins, did not blink and took the smartest decision to include him in the final game. An excellent 137 from 120 balls, accompanied by a steadfast 58 not out from Labuschagne, moved towards the target, with seven overs to spare. In the 24th over, Head came en route to his 95 – ball century. Head got out two runs short of the victory target. Virat Kohli graciously gave Travis Head a complimentary pat on his back. Travis Head has become the third Australian after Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting to score a century in a World Cup final. Fantastic indeed! Patrick Cummins lifted the World Test Championship and retained the Ashes in England, walking into India’s home coronation and snatching the crown! Cummins had raised eyebrows when, after an overhead display of aerobatics from Indian Air Force’s 52nd squadron, he won the toss and made the two-fingered seam-up gesture to bowl. Those thoughts increased when his opposite number, Sharma, put on a bit of show himself, booming three sixes in a 31-ball, 47 before a combination of Maxwell and Head’s sparkling tumbling catch cut it short.

The iconic Virat Kohli, settled in to reach 54 from 63, hearing a backfoot defence cannon on to his stumps. Virat Kohli had a record breaking haul of runs in this tournament that halted at 765. It came 29 overs into what had become a painstaking crawl for India, an 80-run powerplay of 12 boundaries replaced by a tortured 40-over grind that produced only four more. Australia once again delivered a livewire fielding display, Josh Inglis became the first wicket-keeper to claim five catches in a World Cup final, and Adam Zampa claimed his 23rd wicket of the campaign to equal Muttiah Muralitharan’s record for a spinner. The struggle for India, which pretty much set in after Cummins knocked over Shreyas Iyer third ball in the 11th over, was summed up by a 107-ball – 66 from K.L. Rahul that saw just one four struck! Starc and Hazlewood repeatedly pegged things back. A score on the board and Australia’s past shortcomings against spin on the subcontinent still gave India a chance, the pendulum even swinging their way when David Warner, Mitch Marsh and Smith got out. Australia was trying to break their back for an early chase. Head and Labuschagne calmly constructed a partnership and a victory that has enthralled a cricket obsessed Australia in joining the World Cup Cricket Cup of 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. India collected their runners-up medals and looked on! P. M. Narendra Modi and Australian Vice Premiere Richard Marles shared the stage.

P.M. Narendra Modi handed the World Cup Cricket Trophy – 2023 to the Australian captain Pat Cummins. In retrospect, at the end of what had appeared to be a 46-day gala for India, gave a message that in sports, nothing is pre-ordained and taken for granted, I suppose! The subsequent 2027 World Cup will be held jointly in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. While each game should be played with the spirit of sportsmanship, in cricket, more often than not, the players take on one another. The gigantic crowd at N.M.S. booing the Australians wasn’t a pleasant sight. Certain social media platforms had already declared India’s victory, before the actual game. This is reprehensible. India lost the finals, as Rohit Sharma told Ravi Shastri, “we did not play well. Nothing was working out for us”! That’s the uncertainty of the game. I quote David Warner who lauded Pat Cummins after the World Cup triumph, “Great players stand up when it’s time to deliver.” No one wins till they actually win on the cricket pitch, holding a loft the World Cup Cricket Trophy. This round goes to Australia, who deserve to be praised for their cricketing techniques and team spirit. And the game goes on. There’s always hope to win another time, another place!

Yuvraj Siddhartha Singh

(The author is an ex cricketer, sports journalist, commentator, ex captain of St. Stephen’s College Cricket team, member of Haryana State Cricket Team, an all rounder, played Ranjhi Trophy and won the P. A. Chidambaram Trophy, Cooch Behar Trophy and is a meritorious certificate holder of BCCI)

yuvs24@gmail.com

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