Ahmedabad (India) (AFP) – Pat Cummins said captaining Australia to World Cup title glory was the “pinnacle in cricket” after his side dashed the dreams of tournament hosts India with a six-wicket win in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
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The final was a personal triumph for Cummins, whose decision to field first was vindicated as India — the only previously unbeaten team at the tournament after a run of 10 straight wins — were held to a modest 240 all out.
“That’s huge, that’s the pinnacle in cricket, winning a World Cup, especially here in India, in front of a crowd like this,” he said.
It has been a personal and professional rollercoaster for Cummins in 2023.
In March, he returned home from a tour of India to be with his mother, Maria, before she died.
“I’ve obviously had a really big year. I know my family at home is watching, just got a message from dad saying he’s had a lot of 4:00 am wake-ups, not going to bed until 4:00 am, so he’s as pumped as anything.
“You sacrifice a lot to play for Australia and everyone in the team has and we’ve spent a lot of this year away but we do it for these moments.”
India star batsman Virat Kohli ended the match having set a new record for most runs — 765 — at a single World Cup.
But when fast bowler Cummins had Kohli playing on for 54 on Sunday, to leave India 148-4, a crowd of over 92,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium fell into stunned silence.
Before the match, Cummins — who finished the final with superb figures of 2-34 in 10 overs — had said there was no better feeling for an opposition player than quieting a partisan home crowd.
Cummins, asked if dismissing Kohli was as sweet a moment as he had known in cricket, the 30-year-old replied: “I think so. We did take a second in the huddle just to acknowledge the silence that was going around the crowd.
“It just felt like it was one of those days where it was all made for him (Kohli) to score another hundred like he normally does — so that was satisfying.”
Australia briefly wobbled at 47-3 in their reply but man-of-the-match Travis Head’s 137, and the opener’s partnership of 192 with Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out), secured a record-extending sixth World Cup title for Australia with seven overs to spare.
Head, who might have missed the World Cup entirely after fracturing his hand in South Africa in September, had already held a brilliant diving catch running back to dismiss India captain Rohit Sharma that cut short his rival opener’s threatening 47 off just 31 balls.
“Travis Head was phenomenal,” said Cummins. “I think a lot of credit should also go to (coach) Andrew McDonald and George Bailey, the selectors, to take a punt…To keep him in the squad was a huge risk.”
He added: “We could have been made to look really silly if that didn’t pay off, but you got to take those risks to win a tournament.”
Head was also named man of the match for his 163 when Australia thrashed India by 209 runs in the World Test Championship final at The Oval in June.
“Trav, the player we’ve seen in Test cricket, he epitomised everything I want out of a cricket team,” said Cummins of the 29-year-old left-hander.
“He takes the game on, he plays with a smile, he just puts the pressure right back onto the opposition and he’s just great fun to be around.”
In between their world titles, Australia also retained the Ashes during a 2-2 drawn series in England.
“It’s been a big year for everyone, but our cricket team has been here in India, Ashes, World Test Championship and to top it off with this is just huge,” said Cummins.
© 2023 AFP