Ahmedabad: India’s dreams of winning a third World Cup title lay in tatters after an inexplicable meltdown saw them crash to a six-wicket defeat against an indefatigable Australia here on Sunday, plunging the cricket-obsessed country into deep mourning.
Australia thus won a record-extending sixth World Cup title, stretching their dominance in the tournament that started way back in 1975.
Put in to bat, India ended up with a below-par 240 despite contributions from Rohit Sharma (47 off 31 balls), Virat Kohli (54 off 63) and K L Rahul (66 off 107).
Just like his performance in the WTC final against India in June, Travis Head made a match-winning 137 off 120 balls as Australia chased down the target in 43 overs.
Indian hopes were raised when Australia lost three wickets for 47 but a 192-run partnership between Head and Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out) shut the door on the opposition.
Australia’s brilliant bowling and fielding also went a long way in their emphatic win. The dew in the evening also made batting easier on a slow and dry surface.
India, who were the only unbeaten side going into the final after 10 wins on the trot, fell flat in the final hurdle. Their last world title came way back in 2011 and their last ICC trophy was the Champions Trophy triumph in 2013.
India’s defeats in the ICC events over the past decade include the loss in 2014 World T20 final, 2016 World T20 semifinal, 2017 Champions Trophy final, 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal, 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal and back-to-back runners-up finish in the 2021 and 2023 World Test Championship cycle.
Brief scores: India: 240 all out in 50 overs (KL Rahul 66, Virat Kohli 54; Mitchell Starc 3/55).
Australia 241/4 in 43 overs (Travis Head 137, Marnus Labuschagne 58 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 2/43).