A dominant run ended in a heartbreak. (AP Photo)
Another story of so close yet so far but this Indian team can proudly hold their head high for playing the brand of cricket they did in the World Cup.
Australia were eight runs away. The writing was on the wall for a long time now and Travis Head’s slap over mid-off set the stage for a final blow. Virat Kohli stood with his arms folded in the ring on the off-side and Rohit Sharma had his head down with hands on his waist.
India’s two prolific batters, the leaders of the pack had their shoulders down as the side was one Australian hit away from losing the World Cup final. A World Cup final they stormed into with ten consecutive, and clinical wins, and showcased a brand of cricket which has left the cricketing circles in awe.
But they fell short. Very short as Glenn Maxwell’s winning runs hammered the official nail and completed a comprehensive six-wicket win for Australia. Customary greetings were exchanged but the Men in Blue continued to have their heads down.
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Mohammed Siraj was in tears, KL Rahul was down on his knees and both Rohit and Kohli tried to hold their own but were clearly in a state of shock. A teary-eyed Rohit made his way to the tunnel with head down and took the numerous steps to the dressing room. The stairs would have felt like a mountain for the Indian skipper who injected so much belief in the team and billions of Indians fans.
Ten consecutive wins were no fluke. They came on the back of some outstanding individual performances with both bat and ball, and collective positive energy which was felt every time they took the field. From Chennai to Mumbai, the juggernaut rolled on and the World Cup dream was alive and kicking.
New Zealand were considered the biggest test and they were passed with flying colours. A high-flying South African unit was brought down to ground at the Eden Gardens and the win over Kiwis in the semi-final served another stern reminder that India are THE team to beat in the tournament. And why wouldn’t they be?
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Kohli was the leading run-getter, Shami sat on top of wickets tally, Rohit was batting like a dream at top of the order, Gill, Iyer and Rahul were on song and the bowlers, even when options were reduced to just five, continued to run through oppositions. There was no reason to dream and dream big and it was the might of the final and a mighty Aussie unit which finally stopped the juggernaut.
The big final saw why Australia are six-time World Champions and they were just too good today. A good toss won, crucial wickets at the right time and India fell short. They did. But there is no reason why they shouldn’t be proud of the campaign which saw them dominate the tournament and showcase a fearless brand of cricket.
Rahul Dravid at the post-match press conference and he perfectly summed up the campaign and night for Team India when he said, “there is disappointment in the dressing room, everyone is disappointed but we ran a really good campaign”.
India for sure ran a really good campaign. A campaign which they can be proud of when the dust settles and the sun comes out again. That’s sport, that’s cricket. You win some, you lose some.