Ahmedabad: Former England captain Michael Atherton believes India’s bowling line-up gives them the chance to try and defend 240 against Australia in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium here.
Aiming to get their third Men’s ODI World Cup title, India were bowled out for 240 by a disciplined bowling and fielding effort from Australia. Mitchell Starc took 3-55 while Australia captain Pat Cummins picked 2-34.
For India, pushed into batting first on a slow pitch, wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul top-scored with 66 but hit only one boundary in facing 107 balls. Talismanic batter Virat Kohli made 54 off 63 balls after India skipper Rohit Sharma struck an attacking 47 off 31 balls.
“India always have a chance of defending anything because they have a great bowling attack. Bumrah is outstanding with the new ball, Shami has been the bowler of the tournament, and they have gun spinners in Jadeja and Kuldeep. But I think Australia are favourites, whether or not the dew comes in," said Atherton in a mid-innings chat with Sky Sports.
He was also appreciative of Cummins making calculative bowling changes and placing accurate fields to stop the run-flow, while expecting Australia to be hard in the chase from the word go.
“Cummins has given himself a great chance of lifting this World Cup. It was a brave decision to put India in on what looked a dry and cracked pitch but his bowlers were on point and the fielding was superb.”
“He took a couple of key wickets, while there was that spell where he gave his bowlers 10 one-over spells to not let India’s batter settle. He got his tactics absolutely right - and Australia are favourites. Head doesn’t know any other way than to attack, Marsh doesn’t know any other way than to attack. Australia will come out blazing."
Eoin Morgan, the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup-winning captain, feels Cummins may have a role to play with the bat if the situation arises. “Australia executed to perfection and they have set themselves up beautifully. But if conditions stay the same, Cummins might have a role to play with the bat as this will not be an easy chase.”