The largest cricket stadium in the world- the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, with a whopping capacity of 1 lakh 32 thousand, is set to witness a cricketing spectacle of epic proportions as the cricketing giants, India and Australia, square off in a hotly-anticipated final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on November 19 (Sunday).
The excitement is peaking as these cricketing powerhouses are all set to collide in a final after 20 years, in what can be called a rematch of the 2003 World Cup final.
Both teams, standing tall as the pinnacle of ODI cricket, have carved their paths to this defining moment through sheer dominance and unwavering grit. India’s triumphant journey saw them vanquish New Zealand, securing their fourth berth in the World Cup final, while the five-time champions, Australia, overcame South Africa in a heart-pounding edge-of-the-seat thriller.
India’s last World Cup final appearance occurred a dozen years ago under the leadership of MS Dhoni, lifting their second coveted title by beating Sri Lanka. In contrast, Australia last graced the pinnacle of the World Cup stage in 2015, effortlessly outshining their arch-rivals, New Zealand, to clinch their fifth title.
The history between these cricketing giants fuels the anticipation. It was 20 years ago in 2003 when India had taken on Australia in the final of the World Cup in South Africa- an outcome that the ‘Men in Blue’ would want to erase.
Batting first, Australia scored a mammoth 359/2 with Ricky Ponting amassing 140*. In response, India were bowled out for 234 in 39.2 overs with Virender Sehwag finishing as the highest scorer (82 runs). For Australia, Glenn McGrath took 3/52 while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds got two each.
Australia have an 8-5 head-to-head record over India in the quadrennial showpiece. Australia also have a 2-1 advantage over the ‘Men in Blue’ in the knockout phase of the mega event.
Australia have won five of their previous seven World Cup finals. India, on the other hand, emerged triumphant in 1983 and 2011.
India are on a 10-match winning streak, while Australia are on an eight-match unbeaten run. India are aiming to equal Australia’s record (11-0) when they emerged world champions in 2003 and 2007 with an all-win record. The West Indies (1975 and 1979) and Sri Lanka (1996) too triumphed without losing a single game.
India’s resounding victory over Australia in Chennai in this very tournament ignited their winning streak. However, Australia’s resurgence from an early setback illustrates their unwavering determination, winning eight consecutive games to establish their dominance in the tournament.
The Narendra Modi Stadium awaits a showdown of legends, where past rivalries will converge with present aspirations. Australia, with their enviable record in World Cup finals, stand as formidable opponents. But India, riding on a wave of momentum, aims to equal Australia’s unblemished record when they were crowned champions without tasting defeat in 2003 and 2007.
The final will start tomorrow at 2 pm (IST), while the toss will take place at 1.30 pm.