Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India]: Virat Kohli and KL Rahul's gritty half-centuries powered India to 240 against Australia in the ICC World Cup 2023 final at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
Australia put on a stunning display of tight and belligerent bowling to bundle out India for 240 after pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins broke the back of the hosts' batting line-ups early in the innings.
Rahul scored the most for India with 66 runs off 107 deliveries, while Kohli played a fine knock of 54 runs after Rohit Sharma's 47-run knock set a solid platform for his team.
Put to bat first, Rohit got off to a fast start, hitting a four and a six in the first over and a six and four in the fourth. Even when Josh Hazlewood was under pressure, Mitchell Starc struck in the fifth over as he removed Shubman Gill for four runs. A mistimed front foot pull brought the end of Gill's stay at the crease.
The flood of runs continued as Virat Kohli set his sights early on Starc and blasted a hat-trick of fours. However, India's aggressive streak was cut short again near the end of the first powerplay. Travis Head sprinted back from the covers and held on to an incredible stunner off Rohit's mistimed ball towards the off-side.
Soon after the first Powerplay, the aggressive Shreyas Iyer was dismissed, nicking one behind the wicket. Even as India attempted to re-establish itself following the initial blows, the limits dried up.
Wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul and Kohli continued to restructure India's batting order. Pat Cummins kept changing bowlers in an attempt to get a breakthrough, but India made it reach the mid-innings mark without losing another wicket. India appeared to be gaining momentum after Kohli's sixth consecutive fifty in the ongoing World Cup.
Cummins struck again for Australia, this time with a short ball against the well-set batter Kohli. The 36-year-old ended his ODI World Cup 2023 journey with the most runs by a batter in a single edition of the prestigious tournament with a total of 765 runs.
This loss drove India back into defensive mode. Ravindra Jadeja, who sent in at no. 6 ahead of Suryakumar Yadav to get the left-right combo going, was pleased to whack the ball around the ground along with Rahul. The wicketkeeper-batter Rahul reached his fifty in the 35th over mark.
As the ball started to reverse swing, Australia's pacers found greater help from the wicket. Josh Hazlewood struck in the 37th over, getting Jadeja to nick one behind the wicket. India reached their 200 in the 41st over.
However, wickets continued to fall, as Jasprit Bumrah was the next to go, caught in front by Adam Zampa, who finished with 1/44 from ten overs.
And the audience fell silent when Hazlewood bowled Suryakumar Yadav in the 47th over. India lost the wickets of Rahul (66), Mohammed Shami (6), Jasprit Bumrah (1) and Suryakumar Yadav (18) in quick succession and eventually bowled out for 240 in 50 overs.
Brief score: India 240 (KL Rahul 66, Virat Kohli 54, Mitchell Starc 3-55) vs Australia.