The victory marked a statement of intent from the Indians
India clobbered Australia by 36 runs taking the final wicket with the last ball. Australia just never raced any pulses including their own in their innings. They ran after a distant horse but never really chased it.
The Aussies, who many are betting will take the Cup, fell to the one who may well take it going by Sunday’s match. India scored 350 on a placid wicket with 117 by Dhawan -- MOM -- a splendid 82 by Kohli, opener Sharma’s 57, and Pandya’s fiery 48 in the final overs. Losing only five wickets, India always looked in command. Australia never did. Their flurry of fours and sixes never came, and if their bowling had no teeth, the batting was a limp arm.
Until the 35th over or so, both were around the same level -- 220/2 vs 202/3 -- but the next 15 overs separated the men from the boys. Just as India pumped forward after that point, Australia symbolically lost a wicket. To play a WC match without looking threatening isn’t easy but Australia managed to do that against India.
Australia never looked like it had an army of batsmen in its reserve. But batting second with 350 to chase when the opponents have Bumrah and Bhuvi was never going to be easy. Bumrah is the iconic star of the Indian side going by Kohli’s praise. He kept the Australians quiet and took 3 wickets for 61. Warner made 69 as an opener but his strike rate was only 66.6.
But the game-consolidating over was probably the 39th when the Australians tried to accelerate and Bumrah went for 13 to Maxwell. But Bhuvi took out the player who could make a difference -- Smith (69) -- in that span and then had Stoinis for dessert two balls later. Bhuvi took 3 for 50 runs.
The match was effectively over by then. The last 7 wickets fell for only 78 runs in the final 11 overs. It was not much of a whimper.
Winner’s words: Kohli: Top win for us after losing that series in India. It was a flat wicket, but we were very professional. You can't take things for granted just because you have 350 on the board. These guys are very experienced, you hardly need to say anything to them.
Loser’s lament: Finch: They got 120 off the last 10 -- which was a lot. We didn't get too many wickets and when you have experienced powerful guys it's tough. They just outplayed us.
The FB stadium crowd quotes:
Ananda Zaman: “Since 1999, the winner of this match (Aus vs Ind) has played the World Cup final and eventually lifted the WC. Let's see if the trend continues.”
Rukunuzzaman Eunus: “All credit goes to toss win, bat first. We could also win yesterday, if we bat first. No one can chase 350 batting second.”
Syed Rana Mostafee: “I told you long back that Australia won’t make it.”
Afsan Chowdhury is a journalist and researcher.