AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Australia won the Cricket World Cup for a record-extending sixth time Sunday, ending India’s dominant run in its home tournament with a six-wicket victory in a low-scoring final on the back of Travis Head’s 137.
A heavily partisan crowd inside the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium was silenced as Head combined with Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out) in a 192-run partnership to chase down the target of 241.
Australia was wobbling on 47-3 after seven overs but Head and Labuschagne dug in to help their country regain its status as the king of one-day international cricket, adding to its 50-over world titles in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015.
Head was dismissed off what proved to be the next-to-last ball of the match, caught in the deep while attempting to hit a title-clinching boundary. In came Glenn Maxwell and he ran two off his first ball, securing a victory that prompted fireworks above the world’s largest cricket venue.
The Indians won all 10 of their matches before the final and were seeking a third trophy in their fourth appearance in a title match that brought a country of 1.4 billion people to a virtual standstill. They were outplayed in every department by Australia, though, restricted to 240 all out on a slow pitch after losing the toss with only Virat Kohli (54) and Lokesh Rahul (66) making half-centuries.
Head became only the seventh player to score a century in a men’s World Cup final – and third Australian after Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist – and delivered a significant moment in India’s innings when taking a diving catch running back from cover to remove captain Rohit Sharma (47).
“What an amazing day, I’m just thrilled to be a part of it,” Head said afterward. “It’s a lot better than sitting on the couch at home, I’m very lucky that everything went well and I was able to get back here.”
Head had started the tournament sidelined by a broken left hand.
“I was a little bit nervous, but Marnus played exceptional and it was just an amazing partnership. It’s nice to be a part of it, nice to play a role, and it’s going to be an amazing couple of days now,” Head said. “To be able to do that on the big stage, in front of a big crowd, it’s pretty special and something that I’ll be happy to look back on later in my life. It’s nice to be here and nice to contribute.”
Head’s ton saw him join an illustrious list, which also comprises West Indies’ Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, as well as Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva and Mahela Jayawardene.
Ponting’s 140 not out had also helped Australia beat India in the 2003 final. Jayawardene’s century is the only one in a losing cause with India winning the 2011 final.
Australia finished the 2023 tournament with a run of nine straight wins, after starting with back-to-back defeats to India and South Africa.
India won the World Cup in 1983 and 2011. Its last major success was winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.