Pat Cummins said captaining Australia to World Cup title glory was the “pinnacle in cricket” after his side dashed the dreams of tournament hosts India with a six-wicket win in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
The match was a personal triumph for Cummins, whose decision to field first was vindicated as India – who had won all 10 of their previous matches at the tournament – were held to a modest 240 all out.
India star batsman Virat Kohli ended the match having set a new record for most runs – 765 – at a single World Cup, while home paceman Mohammed Shami was this tournament’s leading bowler with 24 wickets.
But none of that counted for very much on Sunday.
And when Cummins had Kohli playing on for 54 on Sunday, to leave India 148-4, a crowd of over 92,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium – named after the India Prime Minister – fell into stunned silence.
Before the match, Cummins had said there was no better feeling as an opposition player than quieting a partisan home crowd.
Having already dismissed the in-form Shreyas Iyer earlier in the innings, he continued to prove his point with a brilliant and miserly return of 2-34 in 10 overs.
“That’s huge, that’s the pinnacle in cricket, winning a World Cup, especially here in India, and these are the moments you remember for the rest of your life,” said Cummins.
“I was a little bit nervous this morning, pacing around the hotel,” the 30-year-old added. “You know you are walking into something very special.”
Australia briefly wobbled at 47-3 in their reply but man-of-the-match Travis Head’s 137, and the opener’s partnership of 192 with Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out), secured a record-extending sixth World Cup title for Australia with seven overs to spare.
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Head, who might have missed the World Cup entirely after fracturing his hand in South Africa in September, had already held a brilliant diving catch running back to dismiss India captain Rohit Sharma that cut short his rival opener’s threatening 47 off just 31 balls.
Victory capped a memorable 2023 for Australia, with Cummins having already led the red-ball side to a crushing 209-run win over India in the World Test Championship final in June – with Head also winning player honours in that match for his first-innings 163.
Australia then went on to retain the Ashes against hosts England.
Cummins, whose mother died in March, said: “At this moment I’m just incredibly proud.
“We’ve had a really good year. You sacrifice a lot to play for Australia, everyone does, you spend a lot of time away from home, but you do it for these moments.”