Men’s ODI WC: Travis Head smashes gutsy ton as Australia beat India in final, crowned champions for sixth time

Ahmedabad: Opener Travis Head smashed a sensational century (137) in the final of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 as Australia defeated India by six wickets to lift the coveted trophy for the sixth time here at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Australia bundled out India for 240 in 50 overs courtesy of Mitchell Starc’s three wickets and two each from Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. In response, Head slammed a gutsy ton to steer the Team from Down Under to a comfortable win over India.

Marnus Labuschagne played a sluggish innings as he scored 58 in 110 balls but the knock proved to be a great assist to Head, who went all guns blazing against the Indian bowlers. Head also became just the second player to hit a century while chasing in a World Cup final.

Despite a challenging start for Australia, losing early wickets to Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, Head and Labuschagne’s partnership turned the tide in Australia’s favour. Head’s impressive century, his fifth in ODIs, powered Australia past India’s target with ease.

Australia started their campaign with two straight losses but bounced back in style with seven wins in the league phase before winning the semifinal against South Africa in Kolkata and the summit clash against India on Sunday.

With this win, Australia have now won the men’s ODI World Cup crown six times, having previously triumphed in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015.

Chasing 241 in the final showdown, Australia got off to a blistering start smashing 15 runs in the very first over. But Shami removed David Warner in the second over as Australia lost their first wicket.

The ball swung away from Warner as he tried to drive, edging it to slip and Virat Kohli made no mistake. Meanwhile, Mitchell Marsh counter-attacked with a six and four as Australia went past the 40-run mark in four overs.

The crowd roared once again as Bumrah dismissed Marsh in the fifth over, reducing Australia to 41/2. The pacer bowled a wicket-maiden as India bounced back in the game with two wickets in the Power-play.

In his next over, Bumrah struck once again with a peach of a delivery that caught Steve Smith in front of the stumps. The impact was outside the stump but the batter did not review the decision, leaving Australia at 47/3 in the seventh over.

Head and Marnus Labuschagne then took Australia to 93/3 in the next 10 overs. Soon the duo completed the 50-run partnership with Head leading the chase. The left-handed batter hit a fifty.

In the 27th over, Head and Labuschagne’s partnership went past the 100-run mark as Australia got close to 150. India did review an LBW call against Labuschagne but the batter survived as the DRS ruled it as an umpire’s call.

Head then smashed his second century of the World Cup 2023 as the game slipped out of India’s hands. This was Head’s fifth century in the ODIs. In the end, it was too much to ask for, as Australia comfortably chased the target in the 43 overs, winning the match with 42 balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, Australia’s bowling masterclass helped the side restrict India to 240 all out in the allotted 50 overs. Rohit Sharma gave India a blazing start, but Australia made a comeback with regular strikes to put the hosts on the back foot.

Brief scores:

India 240 all out in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 47, Virat Kohli 54, KL Rahul 66; Mitchell Starc 3-55) lost to Australia 241/4 in 43 overs (Travis Head 137, Marnus Labuschagne 58*; Bumrah 2-43) by six wickets.

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