Did India’s ‘mistake with pitching’ decision cost them the World Cup title?

India, known for its strong batting line-up, fails to post a respectable total as the team was bowled out for just 240 runs in the final.

India’s Virat Kohli watches during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final match between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19, 2023. – Reuters

Concerns have been raised on the playing surface after India’s batting collapse led to the host team’s humiliating defeat against Australia in the final match of the 2023 World Cup.

Known as a batting powerhouse, India failed to put up a respectable total and were restricted to 240 runs in 50 overs. Batting second, the Kangaroos surpassed the target of 241 runs to secure their sixth ODI World Cup title.

Commenting on the final match, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting blamed India’s “mistake with the field” for the home team’s defeat against the Australians.

“There were very, very sub-continental conditions today. Pitch preparation that probably ended up being counterproductive for India, to be totally fair,” Ponting said, emphasizing that the host team failed to properly prepare the pitch for the all-important match.

It is worth noting that despite suffering early blows, the Kangaroos sailed through the garget thanks to Travis Head’s brilliant 137-run knock as the left-handed batsman stood tall and anchored the innings for his team in the most important match.

Head was greatly supported by a calm and collected Marnus Labuschagne as the right-hander started his innings slowly and played while rotating the strike, giving Head the space to find the moments and hit boundaries.

The two batsmen put together a formidable 192-run partnership that guided Australia to another title.

“What a wonderful day! I’m delighted to be a part of it. It’s so much better than watching the World Cup on the couch at home (because of his injury),” Head, who received the Man of the Match award, said quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.

“I was a little nervous, but Marnus played exceptionally well and absorbed all the pressure. I felt the way Mitch [Marsh] “We took the game to set the tone and that was the energy we wanted,” he added.

Meanwhile, India’s star batsman Kohli was named ‘Man of the Tournament’ for scoring 765 runs during the mega event.

Batting first, India did not get off to an ideal start as Mitchell Starc dealt them a huge blow in the fifth over by removing star opener Shubman Gill for just four runs. The right-handed batsman was caught at mid-wicket by Adam Zampa.

But Sharma lost his wicket in the 10th over and the next batsman, Shreyas Iyer, followed him in the next over just after scoring four runs.

However, KL Rahul and Kohli put together a 67-run partnership and looked set to score big. But the latter became a victim of Cummins just after completing his half-century when he misjudged a short ball.

Rahul continued to play but did not get much support from the other side as all the other Indian batsmen kept losing wickets at intervals and the team was soon all in on the last ball of the match.

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