victorious Pat Cummins, the captain of Australia, celebrated his team’s victory over the host India in the World Cup, calling it “the top of the mountain” after an incredible year.
Australia was the underdog going into the match in Ahmedabad because of the host team’s flawless record of ten victories en route to the championship, the home crowd of over 110,000 screaming supporters, and the comfortable surroundings.
Even with Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli, the highest wicket-taker and scorer in the competition, they could not match Australia’s resilience in knockout cricket.
Travis Head took the starring role with a brilliant 137, making light work of India’s under-powered 240 all out, as a six-wicket win made his country six-time champions.
It also capped a great year for Australia across red and white-ball cricket, having pipped India to the World Test Championship crown in June and retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw on English soil.
Reflecting on a stunning sequence of results for his side, Cummins said: “It’s crazy. This year will be a year we remember for a long, long time.
“It’s been awesome. We’ve pretty much spent the whole Australian winter away playing overseas but we’ve had a lot of success and this pips it all. Top of the mountain. We saved our best for last.
“The passion in India is unrivaled around the world. Every single person here was wearing that blue shirt and whatever the result we were never going to forget a day like today.”
Cummins had a productive day at work. After winning the toss, he took the audacious and brilliant decision to send in a potent Indian batting lineup. He then produced an outstanding, boundary-less 10-over session that featured the crucial wicket of player-of-the-tournament Virat Kohli.
However, he was content to give Head his day to shine and to share with a few of the backstage boys who, following a fractured left hand, assisted him in making it to the final.
He wasn’t even in India when Australia lost their opening two group games, and he wasn’t healthy until their sixth game of the competition.
“Trav carries out his duties. He’s courageous; he challenges the opposition and puts pressure on the bowlers. “It was amazing. We couldn’t be happier for Trav, he’s a legend and we love him… how fun is he to watch?
“It’s also on the unheralded few, the selectors that backed him in even when he had a broken hand, and the medical team to get him back out there. It was a big risk that we took and it paid off.”
Head was struggling to take in the scale of his achievement, with each of his four sixes and 15 fours stamping down the hopes of the hordes of over a billion Indians.
He had earlier taken a cracking over-the-shoulder catch to remove India skipper Rohit Sharma in full flow.
“Not in a million years (could I have imagined this)… what an amazing day. I’m thrilled to be part of it,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s a lot better than sitting on the couch at home (injured). I was very lucky to get back here.
“I couldn’t imagine getting a hundred, I couldn’t imagine holding on to that catch… but you want to help your team-mates and contribute so to do that on a big stage in front of a full house, under all that pressure, is something I’ll be able to look back on all my life.”
Home skipper Rohit, who had dreamed of delivering his country’s first global trophy in 12 years amid stifling expectations, cut a hollow figure at the close.
“It wasn’t our day, we tried everything but it wasn’t supposed to be,” he said.
“We know that we were not good enough today but I’m proud of how we’ve played from game one.
“We kept losing wickets and couldn’t stitch up a big partnership, which is exactly what Australia did. Credit to Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, they stitched a big partnership and put us completely out of the game.”