Three finals, three titles: Australia usher in a new era of dominance on global stage

Posted by

New Delhi: “We will do our best to keep the crowd quiet…” Remember these lines from Pat Cummins on the eve of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Final? For more than the 1,00,000-odd fans wearing blue on that rather forgettable night of November 19th last year, chewing these very same words was difficult as a pin-drop silence engulfed the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The moisture that favoured the Australian batters to clinch their sixth World Cup title against India in their own backyard was also ubiquitous in the eyelines of the home team fans. And, the only thing that the Ahmedabad crowd could take back home as a souvenir, was Cummins’ words getting etched in every Indian’s memory. This of course was subject to debate in the days to follow after what was the greatest heist of the decade.

Just five months prior to this heart-wrenching defeat, India went down to Australia in the ICC World Test Championship final on the green meadows of the home of cricket, Lord’s. Ensuing all of this came another heartbreak last Sunday when the Australian U-19 team beat the Indian U-19 team (who were the defending champions) to lift their fourth ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Akin to their senior counterparts, the juniors too were on a juggernaut throughout the tournament, before running into a strong Aussie pacer quartet in the grand finale. This marks a trifecta of victories for the Aussies against India at the grandest stage in the last 12 months.

All of this brings the question as to What ails India at the knockout rounds of showpiece events. And What makes Australia a potent side when it comes to a World Cup semi-final or a final?

Much of this could be attributed to the mindset of the Indians who are lackadaisical going into the finals, assuming that they have already won the tournament. This was also evident with the mighty West Indies team in the 1983 World Cup final against India who were pretty much a minnow. Chasing 183, the West Indies were bowled out for 140. Micheal Holding who was part of the West Indies XI admitted years later that they were complacent and were assuming that somebody is going to get those runs.

Upon close observation of the Indian team’s approach in both the senior and U-19 World Cup finals, this has been a sort of a pattern. Lose 3 or 4 wickets in a string assuming that the next person would get these runs and once the team is 6 or 7 down and are behind the eight ball playing catch-up is where the wake-up call comes–“jeez who is going to get these runs?!”

And that’s when the shoulders drop, the body language changes and the psyche of the entire team goes into a state of listlessness, waiting for things to happen. This attitude is omnipresent with our neighbours Pakistan too who lost the T20 World Cup final in 2022 to England.

Teams just don’t think out of the box

Australia on the other hand have been completely professional. They do their homework, set a trap for each player and then bait them by dangling the carrot. Classic cases could be Uday Saharan’s dismissal in the U-19 World Cup final or Rohit Sharma’s and Suryakumar Yadav’s dismissals in the senior men’s World Cup.

They also don’t wait for things to happen and always prefer to stay one step ahead of their opponents. Most importantly hunting in packs has always been the mantra for the kangaroos. Individually Aussies never possessed great Individual records like having 4 or 5 batters having averages over 40 and having more than 12,000 runs under their belt. But when put together in crunch situations they can produce results and are a force to reckon with.

It’s not that Australia does not have an Achilles heel, It’s just that the opposition whether it’s India, England, New Zealand, South Africa or Pakistan don’t think out of the box, which is what MS Dhoni demonstrated throughout his career in countless occasions.

But even if there is someone who can think out of the box, will they have the wherewithal to stop the Australian team, who are once again building a dynasty, albeit this time silently and that too with a smile?

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *