So close yet so far: this was the tale of last night for Team India as the hosts crumbled to the mighty Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Final, losing out on their opportunity to clinch a third World Cup trophy for the country.
Despite their eventual loss, their valiant effort can’t go unnoticed.
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After a disappointing first innings where they managed to put up only 240 runs on the board, the Men in Blue came back strong with the ball initially. Bumrah and Shami managed to pile the pressure on the Australians as before they knew it, they were down 47/3 chasing a target of 241.
But, it was then the swashbuckling 137-run inning of Travis Head coupled with a composed and crucial supporting inning of 57 runs off 109 balls from Marnus Labuschagne that drained the life out of the bowling attack and put the Indians to rest, despite their best attempts to strike again.
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But, as aforementioned, the grit and effort cannot go unnoticed, and it did not, as PM Narendra Modi took to the Indian team’s dressing room after their final encounter to offer his support to the Men in Blue.
Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja took to social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to share the moment for the world to see.
We had a great tournament but we ended up short yesterday. We are all heartbroken but the support of our people is keeping us going. PM @narendramodi’s visit to the dressing room yesterday was special and very motivating. pic.twitter.com/q0la2X5wfU— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) November 20, 2023
“We had a great tournament but we ended up short yesterday. We are all heartbroken but the support of our people is keeping us going. PM @narendramodi’s visit to the dressing room yesterday was special and very motivating,” read Jadeja’s post on X.
The disappontment though, understandably, ran deep within the ranks of the Indian team itself, as multiple players took to social media to expound their thoughts on the loss the day after.
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, who underwent a resurgence in ODI form in the past World Cup by notching three consecutive centuries in the World Cup prior to the final, also shared a glimpse into the heartbreak that he was undergoing.
We’re heartbroken, it still hasn’t sunk in and it won’t for a while. My first World Cup was an experience that has taught me so much and made me grateful for everything that’s come my way. Thank you to the @BCCI, team management, support staff, my teammates and you the fans for… pic.twitter.com/I6GG2VmT1b— Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) November 20, 2023
Despite his tremendous form coming into the final, Iyer couldn’t find a way to get going against the fiery Aussie bowling yesterday and succumbed to a stunning swinger from Australia skipper Pat Cummins for a mere 4 runs.
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Yet another player who took to social media to share his thoughts on the loss was veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ashwin, who was not a part of India’s 2019 WC campaign, was allocated more of a leadership role and saw very less game time this tournament, playing only the first match of the tournament against the Aussies.
Mighty mighty heartbreak last night .Everyone in the team had several days to remember during this campaign and special mentions to @imVkohli @MdShami11 @ImRo45 and @Jaspritbumrah93 .
However I can’t help but applaud the giants of modern day cricket “Australia”.…
— Ashwin (@ashwinravi99) November 20, 2023
There were speculations of Ashwin being brought back into the squad just for the final, given the experience he possesses playing against the Aussies, but the Men in Blue refrained from doing so and played with the same squad that had acquired them their spot in the final.
But alas, with a comprehensive six-wicket win in the final, Australia broke Indian hearts to add a sixth World Cup title to their cabinet, and deprive the hosts from scripting a historic winning campaign.