Sat, 02 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 18 (ANI): The mood of the entire country will be nostalgic, filled with plenty of excitement and driven by a feeling of revenge as India locks horns with Australia in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium, twenty years after five-time champions beat Men in Blue by 125 runs in the final.

Over the years, Cricket World Cups and ICC events in general have given India a lot of heartbreak and sorrow. It has been a common occurrence to see India dominate the entire tournament but fumble big time in knockout stages/finals. But this time, India went undefeated for ten games straight and reached the finals. In this memorable run so far, Men in Blue have ticked every single box, be it in batting, bowling or fielding. An occasional dip in one department has been compensated for by top performance in the other department.

Before the title clash, let us have a look at India's performances in previous World Cup finals:-1983 Cricket World Cup final against West Indies, Lord's, LondonAfter two extremely poor World Cup campaigns in 1975 and 1979, India reaching the finals of the 1983 edition of the tournament in England was a shocker for the entire cricketing fraternity. At the other side, it was the invincible West Indies aiming for a hat-trick of WC titles. Though India had beaten West Indies in the league stage, the occasion was much bigger and India was ruled out by many.

In a low-scoring affair at the 'Home of Cricket', India was bundled out for just 183 in 54.4 overs, with Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall dominating the Indian line-up. Kris Srikanth (38), Mohinder Amarnath (26) and Sandeep Patil (27) posted important knocks.

But the Indians replied back with a spirited bowling performance. Madan Lal and Mohinder's three-wicket hauls led the attack from the front and the two-time champions folded for 140 runs.

India won their first-ever WC title and the win went on to change the power landscape of the sport.

-2003 Cricket World Cup final against Australia, Johannesburg20 years after the famous win at Lords', India got another chance at lifting the gold against mighty, undefeated Australians. In the final at a packed Johannesburg, Australians did not offer a minute of respite after being put to bat first. Adam Gilchrist (57) and Matthew Hayden (37) laid the foundation for a big score with their century stand. After getting them both, India was hit by a barrage of fours and sixes by skipper Ricky Ponting (140 in 121 balls, with four boundaries and eight sixes) and Damien Martyn (88 in 84 balls, with seven fours and a six). Australia scored 359/2 in 50 overs.

In chase of 360, the Aussies got the big wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for just four runs. With Sachin's wicket, dimmed the hopes of millions of Indians. Except for Virender Sehwag (82) and skipper Sourav Ganguly (47), all the big guns failed and Men in Blue was bundled out for 234, losing by 125 runs.

-2011 Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka, MumbaiEight years after a heartbreaking loss to Australia that had been a topic of discussions and rants every time India played an ICC event or Australia, India got a chance to redeem themselves at home. At the iconic Wankhede Stadium of Mumbai, the Lankan Lions chose to bat first and put 274/6 in 50 overs, thanks to a century by Mahela Jayawardene (103 in 88 balls with 13 fours).

In the chase of 275, India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag early, leaving Men in Blue at 31/2. A partnership of 83 runs between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli (35) revived India's chances. Gambhir went on to make 97 in 122 balls with nine fours before being dismissed. But skipper MS Dhoni, who promoted themselves up the order, scored a magnificent 91 in 79 balls, with eight fours and two sixes. He finished off things in style, as commentator Ravi Shastri called it during the live broadcast, with a massive six that is immortalised through a memorial inside the stadium. India lifted the trophy after 28 years.

Will India be able to clinch the World Cup for the third time, only time will tell.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc. (ANI)

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