Triumphant Australian captain Pat Cummins rejoiced in his side’s World Cup triumph over hosts India, capping a remarkable year by reaching “the top of the mountain”.
Australia traveled to Ahmedabad as underdogs, with the home team boasting a perfect record of ten wins heading into the final, a huge crowd of over 110,000 cheering them on and the conditions familiar.
They even had the tournament’s top scorer in Virat Kohli and the leading wicket-taker in Mohammed Shami, but could not match Australia’s ability to assert themselves in knockout cricket.
Travis Head took the lead with a brilliant 137, easily overcoming India’s underperforming 240 as a six-wicket win made his country six-time champions.
It also capped a great year for Australia in red- and white-ball cricket, having also ousted India in the World Test Championship in June and retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw on English soil.
Reflecting on his side’s impressive run of results, Cummins said: “It’s crazy. This year will be a year we will remember for a long time.
“It was great. We spent almost the entire Australian winter playing overseas but we had a lot of success and that’s the best part. Top of the mountain. We saved our best for last.
“The passion in India is unmatched in the world. Every single person here wore that blue shirt and whatever the outcome, we would never forget a day like this.”
Cummins had a nice day at the office. After winning the toss, he made the bold and inspired decision to field a powerful Indian batting line-up and then delivered a magnificent, boundary-pushing 10-over spell that included the winning wicket of player of the tournament Virat Kohli.
But he was happy to give Head his moment in the spotlight and share it with some of the backroom boys who helped him reach the final after he suffered a broken left hand.
He was only fit in the fifth game of the tournament and was not even in India when Australia lost their first two group games.
“Trav does what he does. “He’s really brave, he takes the game, puts pressure on the bowlers and to do it on the biggest stage showed great character,” Cummins said.
“It was wonderful. We couldn’t be happier for Trav, he’s a legend and we love him… how fun is it to watch him?
“It is also down to the few who were not announced, the selectors who supported him even when he had a broken hand and the medical team who got him out. We took a big risk and it paid off.”
Head struggled to grasp the magnitude of his achievement as each of his four sixes and 15 fours dashed the hopes of the hordes of over a billion Indians.
Earlier, he took a cracking over-the-shoulder catch to dismiss Indian captain Rohit Sharma at full run.
“Not in a million years (could I have imagined this)… what an amazing day. I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s much better than sitting on the couch at home (injured). I was very lucky to come back here.
“I couldn’t imagine getting a hundred, I couldn’t imagine keeping that catch… but you want to help your teammates and help do that on a big stage in front of a full house, under all that pressure.” , I will be able to look back on this for the rest of my life.”
Home captain Rohit, who had dreamed of winning his country’s first World Cup in twelve years with overwhelming expectations, ended up looking weak.
“It wasn’t our day, we tried everything, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.
“We know we weren’t good enough today but I’m really proud of how we played from the first game.
“We kept losing wickets and couldn’t build a big partnership and that’s exactly what Australia did. Thanks to Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, they formed a great partnership and completely took us out of the game.”