"It Takes One Day"—the theme of this year’s World Cup became a harsh reality for the hosts, India.
India has emerged victorious every time they stepped onto the field in this ICC World Cup in their home backyard. However, the final on Sunday (19 November) wasn't just another day for them.
On the contrary, for Australia, who began the World Cup with two consecutive defeats, it only took one day to clinch their sixth World Cup title— the most titles held by any country in cricket.
This unfolded in front of more than 130,000 home fans, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his key ally Amit Shah, India’s Home Minister, along with many stars from India’s film industry.
Australia won the toss in the final and opted to have India bat first. Despite glimpses of hard-hitting from Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, India failed to establish a solid foundation.
Shubman Gill was the first to fall, dismissed by Mitchell Starc, Australia’s standout bowler in the final.
India lost two more wickets before reaching even 100 runs on the board. The partnership between Sharma and Lokesh Rahul steadied the ship, although it didn't last long.
Virat Kohli, the standout batter for India in this World Cup, setting records for the most runs in a single edition and surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most centuries in an ODI career, returned with 56. Rahul contributed 66, yet it wasn't enough to guide India to a formidable total that could mentally pressure Australia.
Starc ended with three wickets for 55 runs, while Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins each took two wickets.
In response, Australia lost their first wicket in the second over when India’s best World Cup bowler, Mohammad Shami, removed David Warner. Following him, Jasprit Bumrah quickly claimed two more wickets, one of which was Steven Smith's, who opted not to review an lbw appeal by Bumrah.
TV replays revealed the ball had pitched outside the off-stump, indicating a missed opportunity for Smith to survive had he chosen a review.
Travis Head, at the non-striker's end when Smith opted against a review, shared the guilt for not insisting on it. Australia lost three for 47 inside 10 overs into the innings.
However, in the end, it was Head who stood tall and strong, hitting a century—the second in a World Cup final chase in history, following Aravinda de Silva's feat—and guiding Australia to a comfortable win.
During the process, he and Marnus Labuschagne, who notched up a half-century, forged a resilient partnership of 192 runs, marking the second-highest partnership in the history of World Cup finals. In the end, Australia won by six wickets with 42 balls to play.
When Glenn Maxwell, who earlier in the event scored the World Cup's maiden double-ton against Afghanistan, made the winning run, a hush fell over the 130,000 fans in the world's largest cricket stadium.