India did everything they could to engineer World Cup glory but wilted before Australia’s strongmen

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) hands the trophy to Australia captain Pat Cummins
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) hands the trophy to Australia captain Pat Cummins - Gareth Copley/Getty Images

It was supposed to be a coronation, with the Prime Minister handing the trophy to a nation’s heroes. But instead, India froze and Australia claimed the greatest World Cup triumph.

Australia won their sixth World Cup by out-playing and out-maneuvering India, stunning a crowd of 92,000 and spoiling a priceless photo opportunity for Narendra Modi, who ended up presenting the trophy to Pat Cummins in a half empty stadium.

Virat Kohli’s runs and records, more in a World Cup than anyone ever before, the 10 wins in a row, Mohammamd Shami’s 24 wickets, all the pitch antics and the advantages tilted towards India came to absolutely zilch.

Many of their blue-shirted fans had drifted off into the night by the time Glenn Maxwell hit the winning runs moments after Travis Head had holed out to end the innings of his life. As Australia celebrated, India’s captain Rohit Sharma ruefully took the stumps out the ground at one end and Kohli covered his face with his cap, unable to face the world.

Virat Kohli hides his face under his cap
Virat Kohli hid his face under his cap after defeat - Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Head hit 137 off 120 balls the leading light in the second highest stand of a World Cup final of 192 with Marnus Labuschagne as Australia killed the party mood. “Not in a million years did I think that would happen,” said Head. It was like Germany beating Brazil 7-1 in Belo Horizonte, just the colour of the shirts in the stands were different. “That’s huge, that’s the pinnacle in cricket winning a World Cup,” said Cummins, pointing to the length of the tournament and number of teams sides have to beat to win it. “These are the moments you remember for the rest of your life.”

It is hard to think of Australians as underdogs. They were here, by a massive margin but dished out a hammering by six wickets. Usually Australian teams steamroll their way to a World Cup. This time they called on their legendary reserves of strength to bounce back from starting with two defeats to win nine in a row, all done on Indian pitches to boot. It will take some campaign in the future to be better than this one. “We saved our best for last,” said Cummins, after a year that has seen them win the World Test Championship and retain the Ashes in England.

India lost the final because Australia were just too good and turned the occasion on their hosts. Cummins was immense and his leadership on this night will secure his legacy. He made the brave call of bowling first, backing his attack to take early wickets and expose India’s long tail. It was inspired; India were bowled out for the first time in the World Cup. Their total, 240, one short of the target in 2019, was well short of par once the dew quickened the pitch under the lights.

Pat Cummins celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli
Pat Cummins' decision to bowl first was inspired - Darrian Traynor/ICC

Cummins set the example, bowling with great control and forcing Kohli to play on for 54, thereby breaking the crucial partnership with KL Rahul that cracked open the lower order.

It was a night when Cummins could do no wrong. He kept his head when Rohit Sharma lit the early fireworks in the powerplay and reacted to conditions by making intelligent and timely bowling changes. Ten times his bowlers bowled one-over spells. India were unable to settle.

Fielding is often the barometer and Australia were razor sharp, saving fours and putting pressure on Indian batsmen. They held everything; Head running back and taking a diving catch off Rohit that dealt a blow from which India never recovered.

Travis Head takes a sensational diving catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma
Travis Head took a sensational diving catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma - Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Cummins set the example bowling with great control and forcing Kohli to play on for 54, breaking the crucial partnership with KL Rahul that cracked open the lower order.

It was a night when Cummins could do no wrong. He kept his head when Rohit lit the early fireworks in the powerplay, and reacted to conditions by making intelligent bowling changes. Ten times his bowlers bowled one over spells. India were unable to settle. Fielding is often the barometer and Australia were razorlike, saving fours to make batsmen desperate. They held everything; Head running back and taking a diving catch off Rohit dealt a blow from which India never recovered.

Once early wickets had fallen India shut up shop as if playing an old school ODI. The pitch was slow, but that is what they wanted, believing it would nullify the threat of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Cummins. It backfired. These are clever bowlers with many tricks. Bowling cutters, varying their pace and reversing it later on, Australia were all over India.

The crowds in India are unique. They are in a frenzy at every six, four or just wild swings played by their batsmen but are mute when it goes against them. They wait for a moment, a chance to wave flags and cheer but do nothing else to lift their team. It must infect the players, even those as experienced as Kohli and Rahul who became gripped by the fear of getting out as the atmosphere turned arctic. India hit one boundary in 98 balls after Rohit fell, the crowd resorted to cheering wides. India scored 12 boundaries in the first powerplay, after that just four in the next 40 overs.

Rahul scored the slowest fifty of the World Cup off 86 balls with one four, Kohli was 15 off 11 balls but started to grind. There was still hope of a 280 total if they stayed in but Cummins brought himself back and banged one in short that Kohli tried to play through the offside but was too tight to his body. He stood stunned as the wickets flashed red. Rahul hung around but India went another 70 balls without a four and once Australia started reversing the ball, it was a matter of time before the innings collapsed, the last five falling for 37.

Virat Kohli trudges back to the India changing room
Kohli's early wicket silenced the India fans - Matthew Lewis/ICC
India fans - India did everything they could to engineer World Cup glory but wilted before Australia’s strongmen
Millions of Indians are now nursing broken hearts after the national cricket team lost - Getty Images/Punit Paranjpe

Australia knew they had to target the new ball, fearing it would turn later for the spinners. They were 28 for one after two overs but Mitchell Marsh and David Warner played poor shots and Steve Smith made the only Australian error of the night, falling to review an LBW that hit him outside the line. At 47 for three it was tense.

This was the situation for Labuschagne. He could play in his bubble and support Head. With spin at both ends, this was the crucial phase but Australia were fearless, picking off the bad balls and playing sensibly knowing that it would be enough. Rohit turned to Shami for a breakthrough but Head belted him back over his head and India wilted. Labuschagne survived a close umpire’s call on 34 and Head could have been run out going for his 100th run but that was it for chances.

Labuschagne’s 50 came off 99 balls, even slower than Rahul, but this was a night for the tortoise. Head hit 15 fours and four sixes and was the hero of the night but Cummins was the strongman leader who got the big decisions right. Modi will have respected that at least.


Australia win Cricket World Cup: as it happened


04:46 PM GMT

Oooh fireworks

it’s all a bit confused looking. They’ve given Pat the trophy but he has to wait aaaaaaggggggesss for the team to come up and join him.  Empty stadium, AC/DC playing. I think it’s fair to say that this is not the result the hosts wanted... Anyway. The best side won on the day. The best side in the tournament are second. Thanks for following and goodnight.


04:45 PM GMT

Sorry to say,

the politicians have got involved. Narendra Modi and Richard Marles, who is the deputy PM of Australia, are up on the stage to hand out the trophy.

On the upside, neither is making a speech. Modi looks glum.


04:40 PM GMT

Pat Cummins

“We thought it was a good night to chase and that it might get a bit easier to bat. I was pacing around, heart racing but Marnus and Travis calmed it down.

“A couple of times the crowd got loud and they are really loud! The passion in India is unrivalled.”


04:35 PM GMT

Rohit

“It wasn’t our day, we tried everything. We just needed 30 more. We were looking at 280 but we couldn’t stretch out a big partnership. We took early wickets but Travis and Manus put us out of the game, credit to them. Wicket got slightly better to bat under the lights. I don’t want to give excuses, we didn’t put enough runs on the board.”


04:21 PM GMT

The magic moment

Aussies watch Maxwell hit the winning runs
Aussies watch Maxwell hit the winning runs

04:18 PM GMT

Trophy presentation coming up

A fancy / rather tragic lightshow plays in the meantime. India flag in laser lights.


04:12 PM GMT

Sadness for Virat

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

04:07 PM GMT

Travis Head

“What an amazing day. Thrilled to be a part of it. A lot better than sitting on the couch at home, I didn’t think this would happen [has been injured].

“The way Mitch came out and took the game on set the tone. Great decision to bowl at the toss. Paid dividends. Marnus soaked up pressure.

“Definitely third on the list (Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Travis Head - MotM in WC finals) and nice to contribute.”


04:04 PM GMT

Mitchell Starc

“Pat Cummins has been phenomenal with his leadership and grabbing the ball when we need it. It has been an incredible year, you cannot top winning the World Cup in India.”


04:00 PM GMT

Josh Hazelwood

“This is bigger than 2015. Amazing crowd. To win here...”


03:59 PM GMT

Glenn Maxwell

“Nice to be out there. What a win. How good were those two? Marnus soaking up the pressure, Heady ball striking.”


03:59 PM GMT

Marnus Labuschagne

“The best achievement I have been a part of. To come to India.... India have been the team of the tournament, ten from ten and been unbelievable. Travis put on a hell of a display. I am a man of faith. Very thankful to the coaches for sticking with me. A few months ago I wasn’t in the team. I give thanks to God.”


03:56 PM GMT

Tim Wigmore writes

“Winning the World Test Championship final, retaining the Ashes in England, winning the ODI World Cup in India after losing their first two games: what an incredible year for Australian cricket.”


03:54 PM GMT

Australia win the 50-over World Cup

They win by six wickets with 42 balls remaining. Travis Head, with a brilliant and vital catch and a matchwinning hundred will doubtless be the player of the match. The Indian fans sit in stunned, appalled silence as fireworks go off and AC/DC blares.


03:52 PM GMT

OVER 43: AUS 241/4 (Labuschange 58* Maxwell 2*) target 241

That brings Glenn Maxwell in, he connects with a pull first ball and they hustle back for two. Australia win.


03:51 PM GMT

WICKET! Head c Shubman Gill b Mohammed Siraj 137

Ah, he won’t be there at the end but he will enjoy the applause on his own, and rightly so. What a knock. He eventually falls with two more needed, pulling to deep midwicket. FOW 239/4


03:48 PM GMT

OVER 42: AUS 231/3 (Head 130* Labuschange 57*) target 241

Just one off that Bumrah over. Not so many crowd shots on the TV now so can’t say if it’s a “we can see you sneaking out” sitch.


03:41 PM GMT

OVER 41: AUS 230/3 (Head 129* Labuschange 57*) target 241

The Aussie bench enjoying themselves now, cheering on Marnus L as he pulls another four. 11 needed now...


03:40 PM GMT

OVER 40: AUS 225/3 (Head 128* Labuschange 53*) target 241

Bumrah comes back on but even he cannot rescue it from here. Labuschagne tucks a ball away off the pads for four and has himself a half century.


03:35 PM GMT

OVER 39: AUS 219/3 (Head 127* Labuschange 48*) target 241

Marnus Labuschagne - remember him? - has picked up a trio of singles in this over. Siraj the bowler.


03:31 PM GMT

OVER 38: AUS 214/3 (Head 125* Labuschange 45*) target 241

Tim Wigmore writes: “163 in the World Test Championship final in June; now a century in the ODI World Cup final too. What a player Travis Head has become. On course to be player of the match in both the semi-final and final.”

And he is continuing to put the hammer down. Kuldeep smacked for six over midwicket.


03:30 PM GMT

OVER 37: AUS 204/3 (Head 117* Labuschange 43*) target 241

Siraj comes back on. Light workload for him. This is just his fourth over. Head smacks him over midwicket for six.


03:28 PM GMT

OVER 36: AUS 195/3 (Head 109* Labuschange 42*) target 241

Three runs off the Kuldeep over.


03:16 PM GMT

OVER 35: AUS 192/3 (Head 107* Labuschange 41*) target 241

Jadeja. Head twists the knife with a beefy six. He can celebrate that with a drink and I daresay there might be something a bit more refreshing and less hydrating in about an hour’s time....

Australia need 49 off 15 overs and the Indian side look beat.


03:14 PM GMT

OVER 34: AUS 185/3 (Head 100* Labuschange 41*) target 241

Head with back-to-back boundaries off Kuldeep, and then a quick (dicey) single a couple of balls later brings up a superb, well-judged and surely match-winning hundred for Travis Head.


03:10 PM GMT

OVER 33: AUS 174/3 (Head 89* Labuschange 41*) target 241

Jadeja wheeling away for a two-run over but I’m not sure that’s answering the pressing question for India.


03:05 PM GMT

OVER 32: AUS 172/3 (Head 88* Labuschange 40*) target 241

Ah there’s Nahendra Modi, being given applause by some in the Nahendra Modi stadium.


03:03 PM GMT

OVER 31: AUS 170/3 (Head 87* Labuschange 39*) target 241

And three more off the Jadeja over. Not asking too many questions to be honest.


02:58 PM GMT

OVER 30: AUS 167/3 (Head 86* Labuschange 37*) target 241

Bumrah. Labuschagen takes four of them. Head two. A brace of singles.


02:57 PM GMT

OVER 29: AUS 165/3 (Head 85* Labuschange 36*) target 241

Aussies can afford to be circumspect against dangermen like Ravi Jadeja from here on in. And indeed thy are just that in this three-run over.


02:48 PM GMT

OVER 28: AUS 162/3 (Head 84* Labuschange 34*) target 241

This could be the key moment. Bumrah comes on, they need some magic from him. But fair play to Travis Head, he has taken on the first ball and deposited it for four to midwicket. Now he slots the ball down the ground for another four. Two huge psychological blows landed, aside obviously from the welcome eight runs.

Indian heads going down? Maybe some.

But not the mighty Bumrah.

Now Bumrah with a full ball, Labuschagne flicks across the line and is hit on the pads, low. It’s given not out. Oooh this is close. Really close actually. It looked like it was going down but it was in fact hitting the outer portion of leg stump. It stays on umpire’s call but that must be literally a milimetre or two.

Oh wow that is a real gutshot for the Indians.

They ran a leg bye, which brings Head on strike. And he’s put the hammer down with another boundary.

Has that over knocked the stuffing out of the hosts?


02:44 PM GMT

OVER 27: AUS 148/3 (Head 71* Labuschange 34*) target 241

Four singles off the over. The third of them brings up a composed, skilled and potentially match-winning hundred partnership.


02:43 PM GMT

OVER 26: AUS 144/3 (Head 69* Labuschange 32*) target 241

Uh-oh. Now Labuschagne has played a shot. Crunching drive for four, real Test match batting this as he waits for the bad ball. Buoyed by that, Labuschagne now attempts a pull that he top edges. Shami’s body language suggests a bowler who is beginning to think that it might not be his day... Head piles on the pain with a four next ball.


02:37 PM GMT

OVER 25: AUS 135/3 (Head 65* Labuschange 27*) target 241

Stroke of luck for Head as he edges Jadeja for four. Garlands that ill-gotten oyster with some singles.


02:36 PM GMT

OVER 24: AUS 127/3 (Head 59* Labuschange 25*) target 241

Shami comes back. You don’t need me to tell you that India need to make something happen here. I’d bring back Bumrah as well I think. Anyhow, meantime, a super shot from Head down the ground first ball of the over.


02:34 PM GMT

OVER 23: AUS 122/3 (Head 54* Labuschange 25*) target 241

Bowling change. There are five off the Jadeja over.


02:31 PM GMT

OVER 22: AUS 117/3 (Head 51* Labuschange 23*) target 241

Labuschagne edges Kuldeep for four.

Head completes a vital fifty and looks good value to get a few more.


02:25 PM GMT

OVER 21: AUS 110/3 (Head 49* Labuschange 18*) target 241

Short one from Siraj, Head was waiting for that one and he’s smoked that away for a pulled four.

Still...


02:22 PM GMT

OVER 20: AUS 104/3 (Head 44* Labuschange 17*) target 241

Kuldeep beats Marnus with one that rattles on. Overall though, I feel that India are letting this drift a tiny bit. The batsmen are pottering away quite happily against this bowling. Kuldeep’s done five off the reel now and they’ve been... fine.


02:17 PM GMT

OVER 19: AUS 99/3 (Head 43* Labuschange 13*) target 241

Siraj. Four off this over as well as the Aussies continue to chip away at this unimposing total. Fifty stand is up.


02:14 PM GMT

OVER 18: AUS 95/3 (Head 41* Labuschange 11*) target 241

A couple off this Kuldeep over.


02:08 PM GMT

OVER 17: AUS 93/3 (Head 40* Labuschange 10*) target 241

Here comes Siraj. Brilliant bit of fielding from Virat at short cover. Head guides the ball down to third man for three.

Drinks including a fancy light show. Nasser says “the batsmen won’t be amused, they have just got their eye in.”

This Aussie pair have settled well, and settled the game down too.

Travis Head has played well so far
Travis Head has played well so far - AFP

02:02 PM GMT

OVER 16: AUS 87/3 (Head 35* Labuschange 9*) target 241

After several rounds went to India on points, now Australia land a blow. Head picks Kuldeep up and launches it for six.


01:58 PM GMT

OVER 15: AUS 78/3 (Head 27* Labuschange 8*) target 241

Four off the Jadeja over as well.


01:56 PM GMT

OVER 14: AUS 74/3 (Head 26* Labuschange 6*) target 241

Head is making himself a hostage to fortune - or rather to Kuldeep’s quicker one - as he plays back. LBW or castled by one that skittles on are in play here. Four singles off the over.


01:53 PM GMT

OVER 13: AUS 70/3 (Head 23* Labuschange 4*) target 241

Ricky Ponting, on commentary, urging the Aussie pair to use positive body language, look for singles. “Dot balls are killer at this stage.” But four of them there are in this Ravi J over...

Marnus has used 19 balls for his four runs so far.


01:51 PM GMT

OVER 12: AUS 68/3 (Head 22* Labuschange 3*) target 241

Kuldeep comes on. Three off his over.


01:49 PM GMT

OVER 11: AUS 65/3 (Head 21* Labuschange 1*) target 241

Fire and ice as Ravindra Jadeja comes on, looking to rattle through an over of his tweaky darts, and Marnus L looks to slow things down as much as possible. An LBW appeal against Head but Ravi cannot persuade the skipper to go to the review.


01:45 PM GMT

OVER 10: AUS 60/3 (Head 19* Labuschange 0*) target 241

Maybe one too many for Shami, 13 off this over as Head scores two boundaries. The powerplay comes to an end, with India the happier of the two sides.


01:42 PM GMT

OVER 9: AUS 47/3 (Head 10* Labuschange 0*) target 241

India touched 7/4 in running here but are now back to odds on, as you’d expect. Labuschagne, who likes to get himself well settled no matter what, could be the man for the job here. He’s confident and calm in this over, no score bar four byes off it. Aussies still have loads of time and the rate is far from imposing.


01:36 PM GMT

OVER 8: AUS 47/3 (Head 10* Labuschange 0*) target 241

Shami doing an excellent job down the other end with a maiden to Head.


01:34 PM GMT

OVER 7: AUS 47/3 (Head 10*) target 241

Smith will be kicking himself when he watches that one back. I for one would pay money to see that. Anyway, it was a superb bit of bowling even if the umpire got the call wrong.

Bumrah and Kohli celebrate
Jasprit Bumrah chips in with two quick wickets to put India right back in the World Cup final - REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

01:31 PM GMT

WICKET! Smith lbw Bumrah 4

That is absolutely brilliant from Bumrah. What a bowler. Lovely slower one, off-cutter, and it’s too good even for the great Steve Smith. Who is trapped on the crease and given out lbw. BUT Smith should have given his head a wobble becuase that hit him outside the line of off stump and it would have been overturned on review. FOW 47/3


01:26 PM GMT

OVER 6: AUS 42/2 (Head 9* Smith 0*) target 241

Shami hits Head on the pads with an inswinger but that looks to be going down leg pretty clearly to me and they don’t review. Head in defend mode in this over and there’s just one from it. The Aussies have time. But they cannot afford to go three down.


01:21 PM GMT

OVER 5: AUS 41/2 (Head 8* Smith 0*) target 241

A wicket maiden. Steve Smith to the crease. He plays out three solid dots.


01:20 PM GMT

WICKET! Marsh c Rahul b Bumrah 15

The second Aussie wicket and again it’s off a wide one! Bumrah has bowled a series of superb deliveries but it’s the wide long hop that gets the wicket! Marsh will be gutted, he’s just flapped at that and feathered it through to the keeper. It’s anybody’s game here, thanks to two of the Aussie top three getting themselves out fishing! FOW 41/2


01:18 PM GMT

OVER 4: AUS 41/1 (Head 8* Marsh 15*) target 241

Mitch Marsh is a strong, strong cobber and when he gets hold of one, forget it. Shami has it all to do here because Marsh is bringing timing and strength and aggression - and judgment too. Smashes a six and then tucks the next one away sensibly off the hips. 12 off the over.

Can Shami back up Bumrah, who is doing a great job at the other end?


01:12 PM GMT

OVER 3: AUS 29/1 (Head 8* Marsh 6*) target 241

Pure class from Bumrah. Nobody better - not now and maybe not ever - with the white ball up front. Just shaping the ball into the LHB and then nibbling away. Marsh beaten multiple times in the over here and frankly not good enough to get an edge. Mitch gets off strike and Head has a similarly testing exam, just bend over and touch your toes Trav. One off the over. Brilliant recovery from Jasprit after getting some pongo in over one.


01:06 PM GMT

OVER 2: AUS 28/1 (Head 8* Marsh 5*) target 241

Mohammed Shami’s beans are going. He’s looking for the magic ball every ball, he’s struggling to control the swing. There’s a wide in this over, a bye, and now five wides. He’s pumped but he needs to settle. Another wide one and Marsh smashes that away to the extra cover fence.


01:01 PM GMT

WICKET! Warner c Kohli b Shami 7

India needed an early strike and they’ve got one. The stadium is going crackers. Wide one, Warner throws his hands at it and Virat takes a first-rate catch at slip going to his left. Warner could have left that and picked up a wide I reckon. He really had to reach for it and that’s the end of DW. FOW 14/1

David Warner did well to reach this and gave VK a smart grab at slip
David Warner did well to reach this and gave VK a smart grab at slip - Reuters

12:59 PM GMT

OVER 1: AUS 13/0 (Warner 7* Head 8*) target 241

Jasprit Bumrah finds some swing right from the off - and he’s found the edge of David Warner’s bat first ball! Genuine edge and it flies between first and second slip. Virat Kohli, at first slip, was slow to react - I think he and second slip Gill left it for one another but that was Virat’s to go for.  Four ill-gotten runs for that, and then he cloths the next ball away for three through the covers. Again some swing. Bumrah, searching for swing, overpitches and Head flays it through the covers!  The atmosphere is sensational. Now Head has crunches another one away through off and there are THIRTEEN off the over!


12:56 PM GMT

The magnificent Bumrah

will start us off.


12:53 PM GMT

I reckon this is the game

in the first ten overs. It’s a daunting total if you lose wickets early given the setting and conditions. But if David Warner and Travis Head, striding to the crease as I type, can stamp their authority then I think the Aussies will do the business here.


12:51 PM GMT

Fancy a bet?

Having a bet on the Cricket World Cup final? Take a look at these free bets and betting offers.


12:48 PM GMT

Mike Atherton

“Head and Marsh at three know no other way, they are going to come out blazing.” I agree. The time to score is early on and try to get such a flyer that they can afford to grind to the line against the spinners.

All sorts of half-time hoopla going off.

Half time show
Half time show

12:45 PM GMT

Where's your money then?

Afternoon, Tyers here for the Australia reply. India by no means out of this, given the pitch, the conditions and the bolwing weapons at their disposal but there’s no doubt that P Cummins would have bitten your arm off if offered 241 to win.


12:31 PM GMT

Australia need 241 to win their sixth World Cup

Australia’s coaching and management staff of George Bailey, Dan Vettori and Andrew McDonald are wreathed in smiles as they walk on to the field. Australia’s bowlers, all seven of them, were simply magnificent. For the second World Cup in succession, a slow, sticky pitch has killed the big stroke-makers but Australia exploited it shrewdly, backed up by lions (kangaroos? emus?)  in the field.

It’s all on India’s bowlers now. So far they have bowled out teams in this tournament for 199 (Australia), 191 (Pakistan), 129 (England), 55 (Sri Lanka) and South Africa (83) so there is always hope, particularly  when scoring off anything but the hardest of new balls has been torture.

Alan Tyers will be your guide for the rest of the match.


12:25 PM GMT

OVER 50: IND 240 all out (SIraj 9)

Kuldeep punches a single off the back foot off Hazlewood and Siraj earns the biggest roar for two hours when he pounds Hazlewood down the ground for four.

Hazlewood bangs the third ball in and Siraj pulls through mid-off for a single. Kuldeep swings and misses at the slow bouncer. Two to come.

Kuldeep fetches the loopy bouncer from outside off to pull it over square leg for a single.

Wicket! Kuldeep run out 10 And is run out coming back for two off the last ball.

So Australia need 241 to victory. That’s a shivering total if ever there was one.


12:20 PM GMT

Pressure cooker

Adam Zampa bowled 20 overs at the Modi Stadium against England and India and conceded one four, remarkable. He is equal with Muttiah Muralitharan for most wickets in a World Cup, 23 in 2007. We criticised Egland for being too timid against the Aussies. India have been worse, suffering massive stage fright. Pat Cummins talked about silencing the crowd and his team have done it. Close your eyes and you’re at a Test match. The silence must affect the India players. The tension spreads.


12:19 PM GMT

OVER 49: IND 232/9 (Kuldeep 8 Siraj 3)

Only a wide to add to the score after a couple of balls from Cummins who also trims Siraj’s nostril hair with yet another bouncer.

Cummins pitches up and Siraj drives for a single to mid-off. Kuldeep fetches a short one from outside off to cuff a single to midwicket.

Siraj gets into line to glove a single off his chin down to fine leg and Kuldeep opens the face to run a single down to third man.


12:16 PM GMT

OVER 48: IND 227/9 (Kuldeep 6 Siraj 1)

Pace off all the time to Suryakumar and there’s no fast bounce at all, making it difficult for him to connect with his pulls. After the second slow bouncer is called wide, Hazlewood pitches up and the right-hander smears two through point. Hazlewood returns to Plan A and bags Suryakumar.

Enter Siraj who pushes a single to get off the mark. Twelve balls to go. Can they eke out half a dozen more runs?


12:10 PM GMT

Wicket!

Suryakumar c Inglis b Hazlewood 18  Gloves a short bouncer through to the keeper on this stinking heap of a pitch. Same for both sides, of course, but not much for the spectacle.  FOW 226/9


12:08 PM GMT

OVER 47: IND 223/8 (Suryakumar 16 Kuldeep 6)

Kuldeep pulls Cummins for a single leaving Suryakumar on strike. The slow bouncer is upper-cut for a single. Kuldeep then chews up a couple more dots then chisels out the fast yorker. Cummins appeals for leg-before but unless Kuldeep’s foot is made of English willow, he’ll be lucky.


12:04 PM GMT

OVER 46: IND 221/8 (Suryakumar 15 Kuldeep 5)

But not for long. He flicks the first ball off his stumps behind square leg for a single. Suryakumar is squared up by the next ball but takes a single off the leading edge. Cover point prevents them making it a hat-trick of singles, stopping two defensive pushes.

Kuldeep’s leg-glance earns India two more and a wide outside off means Starc will end with a seven-ball over. Kuldeep works the extra ball through md on for a single to leave Starc with 10-0-55-3

India, lest we forget, easily defended 229 against England. But Australia’s top three are in far more explosive form.


11:59 AM GMT

OVER 45: IND 215/8 (Suryakumar 14 Kuldeep 1)

A low total will allow Smith and Labuschagne to play Test innings if required.

Zampa starts with two dot balls to Suryakumar who then flicks a single through midwicket. Bumrah is trapped plumb, leaving Kuldeep one to face.

The left-hander takes the single off the last ball. Blimey. Thought SKY would farm the strike from now but instead Kuldeep will face a reverse-swinging Starc’s last over.


11:56 AM GMT

Wicket!

Bumrah lbw b Zampa 1  Pinned by the slider. Hope abandoned in the crowd? They look very pensive at best.  FOW 214/8


11:54 AM GMT

OVER 44: IND 213/7 (Suryakumar 13 Bumrah 1)

Three dot balls from Starc persuade Shami to go for the big shot, targeting cow corner but is done by reverse swing. Bumrah runs to the crease and whisks his first ball through midwicket for a single and Suryakumar does the same to farm the strike.

Mitchell Starc of Australia in bowling action
Mitchell Starc takes three wickets - Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

11:50 AM GMT

Wicket!

Shami c Inglis b Starc 6  Withdraws the front leg to have a big whoosh through the line and chips an edge through to the keeper. FOW 211/7


11:49 AM GMT

OVER 43: IND 211/6 (Suryakumar 12 Shami 6)

Cummins has been in T20 mode/death mode throughout and continues on his return with pace off Suryakumar works a single off his pads and pulls another. Shami guides a pair of them down to third man, the second of them out of the blockhole.

Eoin Morgan reckons 245 would set up a great game. ‘Not 241? asks Harsha Bhogle. Made for a great match four years ago.


11:45 AM GMT

OVER 42: IND 207/6 (Suryakumar 10 Shami 4)

Cummins cannily brings Starc on at this end to use the ball that Hazlewood got to reverse. And he makes it talk straightaway, too much, as it hoops past Rahul’s legs for two wides. After Rhul nicks off, reaching a ball a lesser player wouldn’t have got near, Shami uses the angle to whisk four off his pads for the third four since the 10th over.


11:40 AM GMT

Wicket!

Rahul c Inglis b Starc 66  An absolute ripper from Starc from round the wicket, tailing in then straightening off the pitch to kiss the edge. FOW 203/6 


11:39 AM GMT

OVER 41: IND 200/5 (Rahul 66 Suryakumar 9)

Suryakumar likes to sweep. Zampa doesn’t like beings wept. Something’s got to give. The right-hander nails the low full toss, paddling it fine but straight to the fielder for a single and Rahul’s second of a pair of driven singles bring up India’s 200. They need at least eight an over from here for a defendable target, I think.

Josh Hazlewood
Australia have their tails up - PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images

11:32 AM GMT

OVER 40: IND 197/5 (Rahul 64 Suryakumar 8)

Australia’s quicks can strangle batsmen at the death with their reverse swing and array of cutters, bouncers and yorkers. Hazlewood continues to get the ball to tail in to the right-handers who use the angle to hit him for three singles off four balls through the legside. Abbott, on for Maxwell I think, makes a good diving parry at midwicket that saves three and Starc stops a boundary off a thick edge at third man.


11:29 AM GMT

OVER 39: IND 192/5 (Rahul 61 Suryakumar 6)

Suryakumar takes a knee to sweep but misses the one arrowing past his legs. No matter it beats Inglis too and they run a bye to add to the wide. Rahul eases singles to cover, Suryakumar is surprised by the big legbreak but works it to midwicket then ends the over with a choppy square cut that fillets third man for four. That’s two boundaries in 29 overs.


11:25 AM GMT

OVER 38: IND 182/5 (Rahul 58 Suryakumar 1)

Hazlewood continues and continues to give nothing away. India’s need to press on is being tempered by a fear of their own long tail and Australia’s excellence in the field and with the ball. Perhaps this was one of those moments when you could sacrifice your No8, pushing him up to No6 and telling him to chuck the bat. If it doesn’t work, so what? But imagine if it did and he cracked a quick 20, Mark Wood style, at two runs a ball with Sky and Jadeja to come, there’s your momentum changer.


11:19 AM GMT

OVER 37: IND 179/5 (Rahul 56 Suryakumar 0)

Cummins keeps three overs of Starc up his sleeve for the death, bringing back Maxwell whose drift and tight line earn him five dot balls and only a single to Rahul down to long on.


11:17 AM GMT

NOT OUT

Waste of time. His foot never lifted and he was nowhere near the edge.


11:17 AM GMT

Umpire review

For caught and/or stumping of Rahul. No bat.


11:15 AM GMT

OVER 36: IND 178/5 (Rahul 55 Suryakumar 0)

Reverse swing for Hazlewood now and Rahul uses the angle to push a single through mid-on. Make that two as it’s doubled by Maxwell’s awry shy. Buzzers! Rahul gets another gimme with another overthrow when mid-on has another attempt at running out Jadeja.

Never mind the run-outs, reverse swing does the job for Hazlewood, bringing in Sky, India’s swashbuckling finisher, but can he do it with the ball tailing late?


11:12 AM GMT

Wicket!

Jadeja c Inglis b Hazlewood 9  But he gets him in similar fashion next ball, reversing it away from the lefft-hander from round the wicket.  FOW 178/5


11:11 AM GMT

NOT OUT

Bat was an inch form the ball. Oddly called by Steve Smith from cover not Inglis and the bowler.


11:11 AM GMT

AUS review

Jadeja c Inglis b Hazlewood


11:09 AM GMT

OVER 35: IND 173/4 (Rahul 50 Jadeja 9)

Jadeja does what he’s best at, haring a couple of singles off Starc to mid-on and then Rahul brings up his fifty with a tip and run, up on his toes, dropping it into the offside and sprinting through. It has taken him 86 balls but, we know only too well what a well-built platform can do in a World Cup final viz Javed and Imran in 1992.

KL Rahul pulls
KL Rahul carries India's hopes - REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

11:03 AM GMT

OVER 34: IND 169/4 (Rahul 48 Jadeja 7)

Back to Head and he resumes round the wicket to the right-hander and rags one square past Rahul’s tuchas for a pair of leg-byes. Rahul works one with the angle through midwicket for a single, Jadeja drives another to point.

Shane Watson, World Cup winner in 2015, is asked what kind of total would trouble Australia. He reckons it would be 270+ on this pitch, providing the dew isn’t too heavy and ruining the possibility of turn for Kuldeep and Jadeja.


11:00 AM GMT

OVER 33: IND 165/4 (Rahul 47 Jadeja 6)

Starc takes the ball after drinks and comes round the wicket to Rahul who plays out two dot balls and then threads a single through point. Jadeja takes on mid-on’s arm after toeing a drive and beats it to get home for a single and then the point sweeper, who has saved 15 runs, cuts off another boundary-bound drive and keeps them down to a single. Hard Yakka this.

Kohli walks off
A forlorn Kohli departs - REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

10:53 AM GMT

OVER 32: IND 162/4 (Rahul 45 Jadeja 5)

Time for the second drinks interval after Zampa’s seventh over which India can only knock around for four singles. How do you think this will end?


10:50 AM GMT

OVER 31: IND 158/4 (Rahul 43 Jadeja 3)

India do as much as they can off Cummins’ sixth over as he pounds that horrible, funny bone jarring length. Rahul controls a pull for two and then slaps one off the back foot through cover. Jadeja also rolls his wrists on a pull for a single and then ends the over, after Rahul’s second back-foot punch to cover, in a pickle as he flaps at a quicker bouncer but gets it away safely for one.


10:47 AM GMT

OVER 30: IND 152/4 (Rahul 39 Jadeja 1)

Three singles, two to Rahul and one to Jadeja off Zampa, all down the ground. Jadeja is beaten propping forward to the googly but never lifted his foot, saving himself from the stumping when Inglis whipped off the bails.


10:43 AM GMT

NOT OUT

Jadeja’s foot was well behind the line.


10:42 AM GMT

Umpire review

Jadeja st Inglis b Zampa 


10:41 AM GMT

Here's Tim Wigmore's story of the pitch protest

Pro-Palestine protestor wrestled to ground after approaching Virat Kohli during World Cup final


10:40 AM GMT

OVER 29: IND 149/4 (Rahul 37 Jadeja 0)

The problem with rebuilding at a slow pace comes when you lose a wicket. Better, if we follow the mantra according to Morgan, to carry on blazing to make the bowlers do something different. Instead, like the India of 2015 and 2019, they’ve gone back to orthodoxy at the least opportune time.

In comes Ravindra Jadeja to try to give the bowlers a problem with a left-right combo.


10:34 AM GMT

Wicket!

Kohli b Cummins 54  Pin-drop silence save for the yelps of about two dozen Aussies, including the players, when Kohli drags on. The ball was back of a length but on this pitch catches the batsman unable to play with either a straight or cross-bat shot. So he tries to angle it away, a la Root, and falls like Root often has to Cummins.  FOW 148/5

Kohli is bowled
Kohli drags on - Gareth Copley/Getty Images

10:34 AM GMT

OVER 28: IND 146/3 (Kohli 53 Rahul 36)

Adam Zampa fizzes through his over for only four runs.


10:29 AM GMT

OVER 27: IND 142/3 (Kohli 51 Rahul 34)

And with one bound ... Rahul breaks the manacles and finds the boundary for the first time in 16 overs by dropping to one knee and paddles Maxwell over his shoulder for four. They take three more singles off the over and suddenly the crowd finds its voice for a shot rather than a milestone. The tension, otherwise, is palpable.


10:26 AM GMT

OVER 26: IND 135/3 (Kohli 50 Rahul 28)

‘Gee this is a high security prison, there’s no escaping,’ says Harsha Bhogle when Rahul creams a cover drive off Zampa that was rattling towards the boundary until Warner, at the age of 37, chased it down and cut them down to two. Kohli, two balls earlier, had brought up his fifth successive fifty by slapping Kohli for a single down to long on. Blimey, Maxwell is going to have a second over in a row.


10:23 AM GMT

OVER 25: IND 131/3 (Kohli 49 Rahul 25)

Eoin Morgan makes the point that India need to show more intent and if they are batting cautiously they should at least be looking to reach a strike rate of 100 and glean a run a ball until they launch. Instead they’re going at .50 with just three singles off Maxwell, who is back for another one-over spell.


10:20 AM GMT

OVER 24: IND 128/3 (Kohli 47 Rahul 24)

Another bowling change to bring back Marsh after Head’s solitary over. Kohli works a single off his knee roll, Rahul gets up on his toes to bunt one down to long on. Australia continue to field ,like gazelles. Kohli whips another single off his pads and Marsh walks away with 2-0-5-0. India are stuck.


10:16 AM GMT

OVER 23: IND 125/3 (Kohli 45 Rahul 23)

Talking about Dhoni, this is pure Dhoni from Cummisn, giving his bowlers one-over spells. Now he turns back to Starc and he sneaks another over past India for the price of a single for Rahul down to the sweeper at cover and Kohli takes a two and a single behind square to long leg and third man respectively. No swing at all now.


10:13 AM GMT

OVER 22: IND 121/3 (Kohli 42 Rahul 22)

Cummins embraces the funk by turning to a seventh bowler in only 22 overs, tossing the ball to Travis Head who comes round the wicket with his offies to the two right-handers. Joe Root once took five for eight in a Test there with the same method, round the wicket and targeting the stumps. Kohli whisks a single through midwicket and Rahul tucks one finer.

Australia have snuck another over away for very little damage.

Pat Cummins
Cummins has deployed his bowlers shrewdly - REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

10:08 AM GMT

OVER 21: IND 119/3 (Kohli 41 Rahul 21)

Fair point from Sunil Gavaskar who often sounds like a PR man for the BCCI these days. He says to those worried about the absence of boundaries recently that Rohit’s blitz has afforded them that luxury and they’re still  motoring along at 5.66 RPO. They may be going along at 40mph but both are capable of going from 40-180mph in seconds. Being there is what counts right now. Four singles off Hazlewood’s fifth over, not so much nurdling as working the gaps.


10:05 AM GMT

OVER 20: IND 115/3 (Kohli 39 Rahul 19)

Interesting move by Cummins who has been pitch perfect so far in his captaincy. He brings on Mitchell Marsh with his elite dobbery and, given how restrained India are forcing themselves to be, white-knuckling their way back to a decent score, it’s a wise move as far as the economy is concerned. It’s a tenth over without aboundary, in fact going for only two, both worked into the onside.

Some superb fielding from Australia again so far in this final. They are like tigers in the ring and that catch by Travis Head off Rohit was one of the finest of the World Cup. Cummins is bowling beautifully too and this is a real examination of nerve for India with so much pressure on their shoulders. The stadium is very quiet, the tension palpable. There was brief respite when a pitch invader ran on (unusual in India given the high fences) and hugged Kohli wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “stop bombing Palestine”.


10:01 AM GMT

OVER 19: IND 113/3 (Kohli 38 Rahul 18)

Australia will bring Hazlewood back after the Rohit assault in his first spell. He has dismissed Kohli five times in 10 matches but the great man does average 69.40 off him.

Slow and steady is the order of the day. Six singles come off the over. Has a very Dhoniesque feel to the manner of this rebuild.

India have a long tail, starting at No 8 (four of their bowlers are brilliant bowlers, but can barely hold a bat). That has not really mattered so far this tournament. Could it today? Kohli will be well aware of this, and in low-risk mode for a fair few overs yet.


10:00 AM GMT

OVER 18: IND 107/3 (Kohli 35 Rahul 15)

Maxwell replaces Zampa and keeps tightening the screw with darts speared in flat at Rahul’s toes. Only once does he get the length wrong and Rahul punches it off the back foot for two and then pats a single down to long on to farm the strike.


09:52 AM GMT

OVER 17: IND 104/3 (Kohli 35 Rahul 12)

India carry on patiently and take three singles as Australia continue to harry hard in the field and Cummins nails his cutters and slow bouncers.


09:50 AM GMT

Free Palestine protester comes on to the pitch

Free Palestine
Protester makes his point to Virat - REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Free Palestine pitch protest
The protestor's pitch invasion is ended by a security guard - REUTERS/Amit Dave

09:45 AM GMT

OVER 16: IND 101/3 (Kohli 34 Rahul 10)

Kohli is smiling, about the only Indian calm enough to crack a smile, after bringing up the hundred by waiting for the googly and patting it down to long on for a single. Zampa forces Rahul into a hasty jab to keep out a very full one and on come the drinks. Brandy from a barrel around at Saint Bernard’s neck for some judging by the Indian catastrophising on social media.


09:40 AM GMT

OVER 15: IND 97/3 (Kohli 32 Rahul 8)

Rahul pulls the slow bouncer off the top edge for a one-bounce single to fine leg but Cummins puts the pace back on for the next bouncer to Kohli and he splices it just wide of midwicket. You could hear the gasps of 100,000 souls when it flirted with the fielder but mercifully, for them. floated past.

More gun fielding and variations in pace help Cummins to finish with three dot balls to KL.


09:37 AM GMT

OVER 14: IND 94/3 (Kohli 30 Rahul 7)

Zampa is again worked around for five singles into the legside as Rahul and Kohli dig the foundations of a fightback. There’s no significant turn so far for the leg-spinner. This hardly the bunsen many feared it would be. Just slow – like Lord’s in 2019 which was a dog, too.

Rohit Sharma has set the tone brilliantly for India this World Cup. More than his runs, it is the tone of his contributions that has mattered: scoring quickly from the outset, showing the template that he wants his team to follow - and, in the process, allowing Virat Kohli to bat at his natural tempo. A few more overs of Rohit would have set the game up perfectly for India; instead, with his wicket followed immediately by Shreyas Iyer, Australia are on top.


09:32 AM GMT

OVER 13: IND 89/3 (Kohli 27 Rahul 5)

Cummins continues with his variations of pace and length, racking up four dot balls to start the over until Rahul rolls his wrists on a pull for a single. Kohli is treated to a floaty, dipping yorker to end the over and he watches it all the way on to the bat and tickles it round the corner for a single.

Pat Cummins leaps in exultation
Pat Cummins dismisses Shreyas Iyer - REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

09:29 AM GMT

OVER 12: IND 87/3 (Kohli 26 Rahul 4)

Cummins whips Maxwell out of the attack and turns to Zampa who starts tidily but without much sharp turn. They take him for five singles, pushing the ball into the gaps, trying to regroup. With such a long way to go they have ample time to bed in.


09:24 AM GMT

OVER 11: IND 82/3 (Kohli 24 Rahul 1)

Australia have turned the tide and pooped the party with some magnificent fielding and the execution of plans. KL Rahul and Virat are India’s most reliable partnership and if the Aussies can break this cheaply they will be well on their way to No6.


09:20 AM GMT

Wicket!

Iyer c Inglis b Cummins 4  Australia have done their homework and are cock-a-hoop with that dismissal. Iyer gets stuck on the crease early in his innings, misjudges the fuller length and has a static push at it and feathers an edge through to the keeper.  FOW 81/3


09:20 AM GMT

OVER 10: IND 81/3 (Kohli 23 Iyer 4)

Rohit starts with a steepling six off Maxwell having chasséd down the pitch then reads that Maxwell will go for a dart and spanks it through cover.  But Maxwell gets his man next ball and brings Iyer to the crease who gets off the mark with a dreamy back foot drive for four.


09:14 AM GMT

Wicket!

Rohit c Head b Maxwell 47  One of the finest catches you will ever see. Having smashed the previous balls for six and four, he slices a drive as he tries to go long over mid-on again and Head takes a blinder, running backwards from cover and then diving headlong to slide his fingers underneath it.  FOW 76/2

Australia's Travis Head catches to get India's captain Rohit Sharma out during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final
Travis Head takes a ripper - AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

09:13 AM GMT

OVER 9: IND 66/1 (Rohit 37 Kohli 23)

Cummins replaces Starc and starts as he finished at Eden Gaedens in death mode with a slower ball. Rohit plays tip and run to cover for a tight single and, after a leg bye, pulls another short cutter for a single, having to do all the work to impart the power on the shot. The tackiness of the pitch almost does for Kohli when he closes the face to early after he walks down and chips it juts wide of the bowler’s followthrough. Caught and bowleds can be common on this type of pitch.


09:09 AM GMT

Sounds of silence

Complete silence descended on the stadium at the fall of the first wicket. It is quite a phenomenon to hear the frenzied cheer of 100,000 as Shubman Gill played an attacking cross batted shot only for pin drop silence when the catch was taken. You could hear a bag of crisps being opened in row Z. Rohit is playing another aggressive powerplay and Australia will be aware of the danger this poses. An India captain, MS Dhoni, won the 2011 final. Rohit is taking on the job himself.


09:09 AM GMT

OVER 8: IND 61/1 (Rohit 35 Kohli 21)

Cummins switches to Maxwell in the Powerplay, unusually. He does pretty well for five balls from which they take three singles but when Kohli is given a drag down he RSVPs with extreme violence, harpooning it through cover for four. Josh Hazlewood has taken his boots off and runs up the tunnel to the dressing room in his socks.


09:06 AM GMT

OVER 7: IND 54/1 (Rohit 33 Kohli 16)

Kohli earns his first boundary with a walking flick, flamingo style over midwicket for four. Again he lost his grip and flirted with danger but follows it with a pair of absolutely gorgeous shots, a back-foot punch en pointe on the up through cover point for four and, for an encore and a hat-trick of boundaries, the perfect off-drive, lacing it past Cummins’ dive.

Small wonder the crowd is in rapture. ‘Kohli! Kohli! Kohli!’ they yell. Some succour for Starc when he gets the next one to grip and the cutter surprises him, taking a leading edge but falling safe and he runs a single.

Australia fan surrounded by blue shirts
Are you ready to be lonely? An Australia fans in the crowd - AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

09:00 AM GMT

OVER 6: IND 40/1 (Rohit 32 Kohli 3)

David Warner comes in to short midwicket for Kohli as Hazlewood angles the ball into the great right-hander. Kohli defends a couple. He doesn’t mind a dot ball. He takes two singles with a midwicket flick and a square push through point. Rohit stays still for Hazlewood this over and works one off his pads.


08:57 AM GMT

OVER 5: IND 37/1 (Rohit 31 Kohli 1)

Channel 5 misses the first two balls of Kohli’s innings as it goes to an ad break. Back to Sky for me. He leaves the first, defends the next then gets off the mark with an ungainly hoick as he loses his grip and the bat bevels in his hand. Rohit has no such timing issues, picking the slower ball and he pumps Starc over long-off for six.


08:51 AM GMT

Wicket!

Gill c Zampa b Starc 4  Short one but it doesn’t get up. Gill pulls and hammers it flat straight to mid on off the bottom 10cm of the bat.  FOW 30/1


08:50 AM GMT

OVER 4: IND 30/0 (Rohit 25 Gill 4)

What a wonderful cricketer Travis Head has become. Having saved two boundaries already he cuts off a third with a stunning but impossible attempt to catch Rohit’s pull at deep backward square. He made great ground in from the fence but was still a metre short when he dived but managed to adjust to block it on the half-volley with his right palm.

Head can do nothing though when Hazlewood goes short when he thinks Rohit is ripe to charge. Instead he pulls it hard off the front foot over cow corner for a  towering six. Now he uses his feet, takes two steps down and hacks him through mid-on for four. Hazlewood is taking some tap. ‘He has to bowl a yorker,’ says Ricky Ponting.

This is a horribly stodgy pitch. No carry at all.


08:46 AM GMT

OVER 3: IND 18/0 (Rohit 14 Gill 3)

Starc finds Gill’s edge first ball but it doesn’t carry to slip. Out comes the double teapot from the bowler. Does he want Marsh to move in closer? Not sure he can when he’s bowling at 87mph. They run a single as the ball goes between slip and keeper. After Starc hoops a wide past Rohit’s hamstrings, the India captain drives solidly for a single because Head is there again to stop the boundary. Gill threads a full one past cover and runs two. No swing yet for Starc when he tries to target off-stump from over the wicket, the ball not coming back in. When he starts it on middle, however, he is shaping it back in.


08:40 AM GMT

OVER 2: IND 13/0 (Rohit 13 Gill 0)

At times you can barely hear the commentary. Hazlewood has t’other new ball and targets the corridor. Rohit leans into a defensive and steers it with soft hands off the edge down to third man. Zampa saves two. That’s seven runs saved already by judicious field-placing and terrier fielding.

Rohit has had enough and skips down to murder a good length delivery through cover for four. Next ball he comes again and swipes across the line, hacking four more in front of square leg, dragging it rather than stroking it. Out comes second slip. Having made hay from two balls, Rohit then plays the next couple on merits, defending them before trying to pull a shorter ball, off the front foot but helicopters his bat over the ball’s trajectory.

Rohit drives
Rohit gets going - Punit PARANJPE/AFP

08:35 AM GMT

OVER 1: IND 3/0 (Rohit 3 Gill 0)

Huge appeal by Starc when he pins Rohit with a huge inswinger that would have missed a second set. He turns to the umpire and, with bent knees, he waves both arms but it was always heading down. The left-armer pushes the second ball across the India captain who leans across to smear a square drive. Would have gone for four against almost anyone else but Australia have postd Head out on the cover boundary and he hares around to slide and stop it inches from the rope. They run two.

Rohit defends a couple and leaves one that again is slanted across him but then creams an off drive that Cummins races to his left and dives headlong to block its path to the boundary. They run only one.


08:29 AM GMT

A reminder

That you can also watch this in the UK without a pay TV subscription on Channel 5. Mitchell Starc has the first new ball.


08:26 AM GMT

The teams are out for the national anthems

Australia go first. The whole crowd stands and bellows out India’s.


08:20 AM GMT

Here comes the flypast

Indian Air Force flies past
The Indian Air Force puts on a show - Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
The Suryakiran Acrobatic Team led by flight Commander and Deputy Team Leader WIng Commander Sidesh Kartik
The Suryakiran Acrobatic Team of the IAF flies past - Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

08:16 AM GMT

Cricket's Michael Buffer


08:15 AM GMT

Wearing their colours

Has there ever been a crowd as large as this kitted out in their team’s colours before? Virtually everyone is wearing the blue replica shirt of India. Look at pictures of the 2011 final in Mumbai and it was a very different sight. Wearing the shirt has become an essential part of modern India sports watching experience, imported from the Premier League and part of the rise of the pride in the national flag that has proliferated over the past decade. Hawkers were flogging them outside yesterday for about 500 rupees (£5). Rohit and Virat are the names stitched on almost every one. Not many Kuldeep Yadav’s out there.

The blue-shirted crowd
Blue as far as the eye can see - Matt Roberts/ICC via Getty Images

08:05 AM GMT

Team news

Both sides are unchanged from the semi-finals.

India Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.

Australia David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.


08:03 AM GMT

Australia have won the toss

And put India in to bat. Wow!

He says the pitch looks dry and dew has been a factor, making it easier to bat as the game goes on. I was convinced the winner of the toss would bat first. India would have batted first anyway, Rohit confirms.


08:00 AM GMT

An ocean of blue descends on Ahmedabad

India fans
India fans in their thousands congregate at Narendra Modi Stadium - AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

07:46 AM GMT

Having a wager?

Having a bet on the Cricket World Cup final? Take a look at these free bets and betting offers.


07:44 AM GMT

Preview: A dogfight?

Good morning and welcome to game 48 of the 2023 Cricket World Cup. also known as the final, 45 days on from the replay of the 2019 final at the same venue, Ahmedabad, that started this marathon tournament. India, who have won 10 games in succession, and Australia, eight on the bounce, meet to find out whether the hosts can win their third World Cup to elevate them above West Indies as the second best team in CWC history, or Australia can win a sixth to stretch their dominance towards the stratosphere.

For the first time since their maiden victory in 1987, Australia come into the match as underdogs and, although their players have millions of fans for their long records of service in the IPL, they won’t find much evidence of it at Narendra Modi Stadium today. India, by head and shoulders the best team of the tournament, the most commanding of all World Cup campaigns bar 1996 and 2007, have counterintuitively found the perfect balance on the absence of their star allrounder Hardik Pandya, drafting in Mohammed Shami to shred teams with his pace and precision.

Everyone points to the weakness in their batting from No8 down but Australia also have a long tail which saved them against Afghanistan and in the semi-final. It isn’t about averages at this stage but the ability to prevail in a dogfight and both have it, along with their considerable skill, in abundance.

Where does this World Cup rank among its predecessors? It has felt like a coronation since India’s second match, following their arm wrestle with Australia in Chennai. It’s hard to put 2015 in perspective given this author’s memories of it are coloured by the long days’ journeys into night covering it and the delirium of doing so for six weeks leaving one with a jaundiced view. This has probably been the worst since 2007 in terms of close games for the leading contenders but at least, unlike 1999, 2003 and 2007, we can be confident of watching a pretty competitive final if Australia can keep their heads in the cauldron. Alan Tyers will be here for the second half of coverage and we will have inputs from Nick Hoult in Ahmedabad and Scyld Berry, among others. As for all the quibbling about quality, tell that to the sea of blue gathered inside the stadium and already making a racket.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.