After 10 successful matches, our Men in Blue finally came short at the final hurdle, losing to Australia in the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. But they gave our nation plenty of reasons to smile. Winning 10 matches on the trot is no mean feat and the Men in Blue achieved it at a canter. Such was their dominant performance that it was difficult to believe that at the end of the World Cup, it would not be Rohit Sharma’s men picking up the trophy.
During the course of this tournament, many records were shattered and many memories were created by our brigade. Let’s start with Virat Kohli. Throughout this tournament, he went about his business as only he can, going past the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, on more than one count. He broke Sachin’s record for most ODI centuries and most runs in a single World Cup edition, scoring 775 runs which included 3 centuries. For his majestic performance, Kohli won the Player of the Tournament award.
Talking about Rohit Sharma, he played fearless cricket throughout and adopted a selfless approach. He gave our team excellent starts in almost every match that allowed the middle order to take their time and then go berserk. Against Afghanistan, he broke the record of the fastest century in ODI World Cups by an Indian; a record that was later broken by KL Rahul in the match against Netherlands. The captain might have missed out on personal milestones, but he always put his team first and that made the nation really proud.
Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul too were not left behind. Both returned from long injury layoffs just before the World Cup began, but came into their own, scoring crucial runs at various points. Shreyas clobbered back to back centuries, including one in the semi-final. Rahul was at his best right from magnificent 97* against Australia in India’s opening game of the World Cup and he continued his form. From playing a mature knock to scoring the fastest ton in ODI World Cups by an Indian, Rahul came a long way.
As outstanding as India’s batting was, it was the bowling that really set fire to the tournament. After missing out on international action for over a year, Jasprit Bumrah was at his very best, taking 20 wickets and being absolutely unhittable throughout the tournament. Mohammed Siraj also contributed well, but it was Mohammed Shami who stole the show. He didn’t play the first few matches but when he was given a chance, he did not hold back. He finished as the leading wicket-taker, taking 24 wickets which included 3 five-wicket hauls. His sensational 7-wicket haul against New Zealand in the Semi-Final was the cherry on top of a scrumptious cake.
In total, Team India scored 3160 runs, made 18 fifties and 7 centuries, hit 278 fours and 92 sixes, and took 100 wickets which included 4 five-wicket hauls, 50 catches and 1 stumping, and travelled more than 13,400 kilometres to end with a win percentage of 90.9%.
Yes, India fell short in the final, but the Men in Blue gave it everything they had, and as a country, we can only be grateful for all they have done.
THANK YOU, TEAM INDIA!