India may be the heart of cricket, but the coolest Head in cricket has been shown to be Australian. Travis Head set his side’s record-extending sixth World Cup victory with a triumphantly paced 137 from 120 balls in Ahmedabad. Six-and-a-half hours beforehand, he contributed a match-turning catch, running backwards into the covers to saw off India’s captain, Rohit Sharma. Australia’s eventual target of 241 would have been significantly higher if Head had not held onto a sprawling take.
Head’s dismissal of Sharma held back a runaway Indian innings that had ravaged 10 fours and three sixes in the first powerplay. Once Sharma was out, India mustered just four more fours and 160 more runs across the next 40 overs. Their failure to post a larger total meant they were unable to mitigate the onset of dew, leading to Australia’s victory with six wickets standing and a huge 42 balls unused.
At 47 for 3, Australia was in a do-or-die tussle against India’s outstanding performers. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh’s dismissals put them in a difficult position until Marnus Labuschagne and Head extended their fourth-wicket stand of 192, seeing off pace and spin alike. That partnership was crucial as Australia eventually won thanks to clinical and ruthless play from every man on the team.
India’s weight of strokemakers was not enough to overwhelm Australia. They made early breakthroughs inspired by Josh Hazlewood, who, despite the dew, made Cummins’ brave decision to bowl first work. Rohit’s onslaught was brave, but his dismissal by a fielding majesty from Head turned the game in Australia’s favor.
Head’s pivotal catch set the tone for Australia’s victory, which was cemented by the brutal display of their most formidable winners. Every man on the Australian XI played their part and ultimately claimed victory in a contest that was meant to be India’s coronation. The contest was greeted with stunned silence by a large crowd, and the trophy lift epitomized the national anticlimax felt by India.
Rohit’s dismissal was a seminal moment, as it turned the contest in Australia’s favor. India’s lower-order weakness and Pandya’s absence was revealed when India’s lower-order pivot was called upon. Their collapse into the tail led to quick dismissals, and they were unable to recover from this, despite Kohli’s trusted tempo in such situations.