Australia won the Men’s Cricket World Cup for the sixth time with victory over India in front of a 92,453 crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. It was their fifth World Cup title in the last seven editions going back to 1999 when their golden era started.
Australia’s men’s team have won seven World Cups (six in ODI format and one in T20), three more than the next best team, West Indies, who have four titles (two each in ODI and T20) but failed to qualify for the World Cup in India.
It capped a memorable year for Australia’s men, following their victorious tour of India, winning the 2023 World Test Championship, and retaining the Ashes in England. They also won the T20 World Cup, held in the UAE, in 2021.
It’s not just the men who have dominated over the past few years. Their women’s team won this year’s T20 World Cup 2023 and the 50-over World Cup in 2022.
There have been 41 World Cups in ODI and T20 formats across men’s and women’s editions and Australia have won 20 of them, 12 more than the next best (eight titles).
India once again lack killer instinct
Between 2007 and 2013, India’s men’s team won three major ICC tournaments: the T20 World Cup in 2007, the 2011 ODI World Cup and Champions Trophy 2013. Since winning the last of those, they have failed to win 10 tournaments in 10 years. In nine, they reached the knockout stage but couldn’t cross the finish line.
India have lost just four out of 28 matches in the last three men’s ODI World Cups (2015, 2019 and 2023) but three of those defeats have come in either semi-finals or finals.
Earlier this year, India also lost the World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval. They fell to eventual champions England in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last year, too.
India have the highest win percentage at major tournaments over the past 10 years (69.15%) and have won zero titles. By comparison, Australia, with a 64.77 win percentage, have won four titles (two World Cups, one T20 World Cup and World Test Championship).
Head wins World Cup for Australia
Australia played half of the tournament with just 14 players as they were waiting for Travis Head to recover from a fracture on his left hand. Head showed why that risk was worth taking with his match-winning performance in the final. He scored 137, the fourth-highest score in a World Cup final.
It wasn’t just his runs that helped Australia win. Head took an extraordinary catch to dismiss the dangerous-looking Rohit Sharma (41 off 31) after which India’s innings derailed.
Head played just six matches at the 2023 tournament and earned three player-of-the-match awards, including in the semi-final and final.
Head has been Australia’s talisman this year. Just six months ago, he scored a match-winning 163 in the World Test Championship final, also against India.
India’s boundary drought in the final
Australia are not usually a team that chooses to field, especially in the knockout stages. Sunday’s match was the first since the 1975 final that Australia chose to bowl in a knockout match at the Cricket World Cup. In the previous eight knockout matches, they opted to bat first after winning the toss.
Pat Cummins’ decision turned out to be right when India, following 80 runs in the opening powerplay, could hit just four boundaries in overs 11-50, the lowest for them since they hit just seven against Sri Lanka in Sharjah in 2000.
After the end of the first powerplay, India went 97 consecutive balls without a boundary. KL Rahul stayed on the wicket for 107 balls but hit just one four.
In the 21st century, there have been just five instances of teams hitting four boundaries or less in overs 11-50 in a completed innings in ODIs.
The India stalwarts couldn’t score big
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were the driving force behind India’s 10-match winning streak in the World Cup. Kohli was named player of the tournament for scoring 765 runs, the most by any player in one edition, including a century in the semi-final.
While both made contributions in the final, they couldn’t put together a big innings for which they are known. Rohit was out after scoring a brisk 47 whereas Kohli scored 54 off 63 balls.
Kohli (50) and Rohit (31) have 81 centuries in ODIs between them but neither have scored tons in finals.