Good morning and welcome to game 48 of the Cricket World Cup 2023. also known as the final, 45 days after the replay of the 2019 final at the same venue, Ahmedabad, where this marathon tournament started. India, who have won 10 games in a row, and Australia, eight in a row, meet to find out if the hosts can win their third World Cup and elevate them above the West Indies as the second-best team in history of the CWC, or that Australia can win. a sixth to extend their dominance into the stratosphere.
For the first time since their maiden win in 1987, Australia come into the match as underdogs and while their players have millions of fans because of their long track record in the IPL, they won’t find much evidence of that at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Today. India, head and shoulders the best team in the tournament, the most impressive of any World Cup campaign barring 1996 and 2007, have counter-intuitively found the perfect balance in the absence of their star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who fielded Mohammed Shami to fragment teams. his pace and precision.
Everyone points out the weakness in their batting from number 8, but Australia also has a long tail that saved them against Afghanistan and in the semi-final. It’s not about averages at this stage, it’s about the ability to prevail in a dogfight and both, along with their considerable skills, have that in spades.
Where does this World Cup rank among its predecessors? It feels like a coronation since India’s second match, after their arm-wrestle with Australia in Chennai. It’s hard to put 2015 into perspective, as this author’s memories of it are colored by the long days covered in the night and the delirium that does so for six weeks, creating a jaundiced picture. This has probably been the worst since 2007 in terms of close games for the leading contenders, but unlike 1999, 2003 and 2007 at least we can be sure we’ll see a properly competitive final if Australia can put their heads in the kettle to hold. Alan Tyers will be here for the second half of the coverage and we’ll have input from Nick Hoult in Ahmedabad and Scyld Berry, among others. As for all the whining about quality, tell that to the sea of blue gathered in the stadium and already making a racket.
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