ICC World Cup 2023: From Slow Pitch In Ahmedabad To No Boundaries In Middle Overs, Here's Why India Lost The Final

ICC World Cup 2023: From Slow Pitch In Ahmedabad To No Boundaries In Middle Overs, Here's Why India Lost The Final

Team India were the favourites to lift the trophy for the third time in ODI World Cup history but fate had other ideas and the script completely changed once the players took the field in the World Cup final.

Rohan SenUpdated: Monday, November 20, 2023, 09:08 PM IST
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Team India's defeat in the ICC World Cup 2023 against Australia on Sunday night broke more than a billion hearts worlwide as the best side in the competition faltered at the last hurdle after beating every team comprehensively before the final.

The Men in Blue were the favourites to lift the trophy for the third time in ODI World Cup history thanks to their rampaging run in the league stage and semi-finals.

Rohit Sharma & Co. had all bases covered throughout the tournament and were also the bookmakers' favourite to go all the way to win their first ICC title in 10 years.

But fate had other ideas and the script completely changed once the players took the field at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Where it all fell apart

From the very first ball, it was clear that the summit clash was not going to be a high-scoring match due to the slow nature of the pitch.

It got worse for batting during the day with the likes of Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul struggling to get going after Rohit Sharma got the team off to a flying start.

Australia's bowlers also didn't relent or let the pressure off India as they stopped them from scoring a boundary for 102 deliveries in the middle overs.

Rohit took his chances in the powerplay, like he had been doing all throughout the tournament, and it paid off for a brief period. He was connecting every ball with the middle of his bat until his luck ran out in the late 40s once again and he perished for the 31-ball 47.

Batting struggles on a sluggish pitch

He was the only batter apart from Travis Head who had a strike rate of over 100 in the match. And that is because both Rohit and Head played an attacking game on a pitch which did not have any pace on offer for the batters.

Much was being said about the pitches on which the Indian team played before the final and it was again the surface which hogged all the attention at Motera.

India dug its own grave

One could say that India dug its own grave by preparing a pitch which neither suited their batters nor the spin bowlers, let alone the pacers. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami still managed to make the ball talk and grabbed three early wickets till there was swing on offer in the first few overs of Australia's run chase.

But the wicket eased out during the course of the evening and once the lights came on, it became a belter to bat on with no pace or spin on offer for the bowlers. This is when Head and Marnus Labuschagne cashed in and took the game away from India.

Ineffective spinners under lights

Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja reduced their speeds significantly to get the ball to grip the surface and turn but in vain. The swing also disappeared once the new ball lost its shine as the game progressed in the second half.

There was also a bit of dew on the ground which made it even more difficult for the bowlers to defend a small score of 241. Even 300 would not have been enough had there been more dew later in the evening.

Australia read the conditions better than India

Pat Cummins and the Australian team management probably read the conditions better than the home side which is why they surprised everyone by opting to bowl first after winning the toss. They went against the template of batting first and putting pressure on the opposition by posting a big total on the board.

Rohit Sharma said at the toss that he would have batted first if he had won the coin toss. He said this even though he had stated on the eve of the match that the pitch was going to be on the slower side. But he didn't anticipate it to behave in the way it did when they batted first.

For a team which had not put a foot wrong in 10 ODIs spread over a month, getting their strategy all wrong in the final was a rude shock as luck finally ran out and the law of averages caught up with the best side of the World Cup.

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