Australia Cricket Sixth World Cup Title Victory

australia cricket sixth world cup title victory How Australia's backstage orchestrators plotted India's fall match info update cricket news cricket match

Nov 22, 2023 - 08:48
Nov 22, 2023 - 08:54

Australia Cricket Sixth World Cup Title Victory 

As Australia finished their practice session on the eve of the World Cup final at around 4.30 pm on Saturday (November 18), there was one Indian occupying the think-tank's attention more than anyone else. No, it wasn't Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma. It wasn't even the deadly pace couple of Jasprit Bumrah or Mohammed Shami. The opposition player being talked about the most instead was Shreyas Iyer.

The Mumbai right-hander was coming off back-to-back hundreds of years against the Netherlands and then New Zealand in the semi-final. Both those tons had also come off 60 and 70 deliveries respectively. And the Australians had concluded that while Kohli was the most elevated run-getter for India in the tournament, apart from being a historic thorn in their side, the match-changing damage would come from Iyer.

He was the one they expected to eliminate early, not because he was a dangerous threat, but also because that would change the dynamic of the Indian middle-request. The idea was to make sure that they get Kohli and KL Rahul batting together as early as conceivable, all the more so because of the dry and drab nature of the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium. That outcome, they believed, would guarantee that India battle to get to their customarily gargantuan total like they had in the tournament previously, especially with Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav not having had much of a hit in the weeks leading up to the final. The ideal ploy to uncover and take advantage of India's only real issue of note leading into the big game.

Even Andrew McDonald and his exceptionally experienced and savvy coaching staff would not have anticipated that the plan should be executed with this cerebral precision. For, very much like the ideal scenario that they'd drawn up in the war room, the Australian bowlers drove by captain Pat Cummins, and a freak catch from Travis Head, had guaranteed that Kohli and Rahul were batting together on the lazy surface by the eleventh over.

As it ended up, Cummins required only one delivery to dispose of Iyer. But It's the intensity in the captain's body language before he ran in to bowl, as he moved his defenders around rather animatedly, that set the wicket up.

It was Cummins' first delivery to Iyer. The field could never have been set all the more clearly to telegraph a short ball. Four defenders on the boundary, all behind square, two each on the off and on side. Three in-defenders on the leg-side including a square-leg and mid-on but no mid-off. The cover defender also meanwhile was in a catching position, nearer to the batter than the 30-yard circle.

Understandably, Iyer's weight remained on the backfoot, as he stayed attached to his crease and more on-side than expected. It meant that he was in an awkward position to counter the length delivery on off-stump from the Australian captain, which always has that shape into the right-hander, and brought about him pushing at it down the wrong line and getting an outside-edge through to the wicket-keeper. The plan had worked. The threat had been diffused without any damage. And the celebration from Cummins was a giveaway of how subordinate Australia's tactic to strangle India was on Iyer's early dismissal.

Iyer had only managed 4 runs, graciousness a boundary off Glenn Maxwell off the last ball of the first powerplay. That would be the last boundary India would score for 98 deliveries. Very much like McDonald and his team had envisaged, all Kohli and Rahul appeared to be content to do with the pitch slowing down further with every over, and the lack of in-structure batters to come, was nudge and nurdle and keep the score ticking along. Australia had already won the first couple of rounds of this heavyweight contest. Then came the collateral damage that they'd then predicted.

With the scoring rate having dropped to nothing in excess of a canter, and Rahul taking his opportunity to construct his innings, Kohli could no longer play the job that he'd played so magnificently till this point in the World Cup. The onus for once was on him to take the game forcibly and take on the Australian bowlers. And literally his first work to do as such, as he had a go at pushing a length delivery slightly away from his body from Cummins ended up with him inside-edging on to his stumps. Even on the off chance that he had still utilized his class to get himself to a half-century. Another big snapshot of the final had already gone Australia's way resoundingly.

Australia had assuming anything already drawn first blood at the actual throw. The strong position they'd got into with the Kohli wicket was only conceivable because of Cummins' intense call of putting India to bat, what they've wanted to do throughout the tournament. So much so that even Rohit Sharma looked somewhat confused as he signaled to his teammates that they'd bat first.

McDonald, Vettori, Di Venuto and Bloom were right in the blend as soon as the team transport arrived at the Narendra Modi Stadium at around noon on Sunday. They made a beeline for the pitch, scoured and groped it at various spots in a decent length area, before the head coach sought out his captain for a long chat.

And like has been a hallmark of the Cummins-McDonald era, the courageous call had been made on the back of a great deal of analysis, a ton of thoroughly examined scenarios and a ton of well-strategized ideas from McDonald and Co with some of the senior players chipping in. Along with of course a big dollop of determination. It was anything but an easy decision, and it's not surprising that some specialists back home have considered it as one of the bravest calls ever made in the history of Australian game. Not to fail to remember a total purchase in from Cummins and his players.

They'd considered and scrutinized the pitch and its dryness the earlier day, and they'd all agreed that this could play a great deal like some of the Test wickets they'd got here earlier in the year. But rather than get frightened by it, the Australians appeared to go in with a most dire outcome imaginable mind-set, and utilize the hand crafted conditions against India and thereby diffusing their strength. That was the rationale behind Cummins choosing to handle first.

There was also of course the added bonus of not allowing Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav to utilize the hold and mood killer the pitch during the day. Notwithstanding being aware of the significant development on offer under lights for Bumrah and Shami, the gamble Australia were ready to take is to somehow overcome that phase with as little damage as conceivable consequently of getting to potentially face 20 overs of spin on a pitch, which with some dew and some dampness in the air, would get the balls to slip on. Once again, they could never have read or carried out the play any better.

In a way it was only apt that Australia would leave their biggest dropkick for the biggest evening of the tournament. It was a World Cup campaign based on brave gambles, starting of course with arriving in India with only 14 fit men, and being prepared to wait on Travis Head to get himself right past the halfway point of the league stage. Head showed why it was worth the effort literally five days after arriving with that sensational maiden World Cup ton against New Zealand in Dharamsala. Before of course etching his name in ODI fables, with player of the match performances in the semi-final and the final.

Not having a specialist front-line spinner apart from Adam Zampa, regardless of how well Glenn Maxwell bowled right through, and sticking with the legendary triumvirate of Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, in spite of the lack of powerplay wickets in various matches, on some unforgiving pitches was a relatively less secure dropkick, but that paid profits too in the business end.

After taking 9 wickets at 47 apiece in the league matches, Starc finished with 6 wickets at 14 in the two knockout matches. Hazlewood's spell in the semi-final against South Africa could only be second to the late great Shane Warne's epic at Edgbaston in 1999, and the fast bowler backed it up with another vital spell towards the finish to Suryakumar, who checked out all at sea against Hazlewood's change of pace. And then came Cummins with easily one of his best ODI performances with the ball, even assuming that he only had figures of 2/34.

There was also the tenacious ideating and maneuvering of crucial positions in the batting-request. From dropping Steve Smith to No. 4 to accommodate Mitchell Marsh at No. 3, even on the off chance that it had been chosen preceding the tournament, but also sticking with Marnus Labuschagne as the back-up salvage act ahead of the big-hitting Marcus Stoinis, for good measure there were to be a collapse, similar to there was in both knockout matches. Labuschagne could have failed against South Africa but he certainly made up for it in unforgettable fashion when it counted most.

Where Labuschagne couldn't save the day in Kolkata, the man who assumed that part was Josh Inglis, a shock replacement for Alex Carey after only one game in the first seven day stretch of the World Cup. Not many became involved with the swap in wicket-keepers when it happened, but as the tournament advanced, everything began to make sense.

And while Australia ended up unearthing numerous legends in transit to their 6th World Cup win, behind every striking move, behind every spectacular display decision, was McDonald and his team orchestrating the play. The uncelebrated stars of what will go down as Australia's greatest World Cup win. However individually they all come with their own family, the McDonald-drove coaching staff is perhaps among the more 'remain unnoticed' team managements in cricket as of now, especially regarding the bigger nations.

But among them, and you have to include Andy Blossom who's become an integral part of the group during this World Cup, they have coached and educated themselves with cricket in every part of the world. From England, Australia, the IPL, to the Caribbean and other parts of the subcontinent. The majority of them, including Michael Di Venuto, have also held head coach jobs at a homegrown level for enough time to be intrinsically aware of more match-ups and match situations than various high-profile player-turned-coaches.

And that's what has

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