Published: November 18, 2023, 09:30 PM
The Narendra Modi Stadium, the largest cricket ground in the world with a capacity of over 130,000, is poised to host the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 on Sunday.
Australia, the country with the most World Cup titles, will face the host nation, India, in the final. Both teams showcased their ODI prowess in the league phase of the World Cup.
However, India`s performance in the league phase was unparalleled. They won all nine matches before securing a comfortable victory in the semifinal against New Zealand. Overall, it has been the World Cup of the hosts so far.
Australian captain Pat Cummins acknowledged that they are the underdogs in the final, a tag Australia rarely carries.
Australia had a challenging start to the World Cup, losing two of their first matches. However, they made a remarkable comeback, especially with a great innings from Glenn Maxwell, who scored Australia’s first double tonne in ODIs against Afghanistan.
Comfortable wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan helped Australia improve their run rate, and subsequent victories against the Netherlands and Afghanistan eased their way to the semifinals. In the semis, they defeated South Africa.
Adam Zampa played a pivotal role for them in the league phase, securing 22 wickets. Supported by Cummins, Mitch Starc, and Josh Hazlewood, all of whom grabbed double-figure wickets.
In contrast to Australia’s ups and downs, India had smooth sailing in the league phase, rarely facing tough challenges. Mohammad Shami, initially not part of their playing XI, later won the hearts of billions of Indians. He took three five-fors, and in the semi-final against New Zealand, he scalped seven wickets, marking the best bowling figures by an Indian in the World Cup.
Overall, the final promises to be one of the most attractive ODIs ever. Will it be the stage for Australia to extend their record of winning the most World Cups, or will it be the stage for India to secure their third title and second in front of the home crowd? Only time will tell!