ICC World Cup 2023 hosts India will face five-time tournament winners Australia in the final of the showpiece event on Sunday. The IND vs AUS match will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad from 2 pm onwards.
India, the only unbeaten side in the tournament, have hardly put a foot wrong. At the same time, Australia have never looked back after recovering from back-to-back losses in the beginning of the competition.
As a unit, India have performed better than Australia and are favourites to lift the coveted trophy at home after 12 long years.
On the other hand, Australia are not used to coming second when a global trophy is at stake and five titles in seven final appearances are a testament to their envious record.
Rahul Dravid stood like a rock behind the players after the T20 World Cup semifinal thrashing at the hands of England last year and Indian captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday longed to win the 50-over version now as a fitting tribute to the head coach for his “massive contribution” to the country’s cricketing landscape.
Sunday could well be Dravid’s last day in his office and there won’t be a better farewell gift to one of the legends of Indian cricket, who missed that elusive silverware as a player.
“The way he stood by the players in difficult times during the T20 World Cup, we had a good run until that semifinal and we lost and how he reacted to certain situations and informing the players about this is what we are looking at and all of that says a lot about him,” remarked Rohit on the eve of India’s title clash against Australia.
“Obviously, what he has done for Indian cricket is massive. He also feels that he wants to be part of this big occasion. It’s for us to do it for him,” he added.
For 90s kids, it was all about the 50-over World Cup and Rohit is no different.
“For me, this is the biggest event — the 50-over World Cup. Since childhood, I’ve grown up watching the 50-over World Cup. So, for me, this is the biggest moment. But I know that I have to focus on what my team needs me to do. I want to put aside everything else for a while.”
From his boyhood to early teens, Pat Cummins saw Australia complete a hat-trick of World Cup wins and in his early youth got that taste of what it means to be a World Champion while being part of the class of 2015.
Now at 30, Cummins wants to experience that awesome feeling of leading a great bunch of blokes to an unprecedented sixth World Cup title beating a formidable Indian team.
“It would be huge. We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the 99, 2003, 2007 World Cups. That’s the opportunity ahead of us tomorrow, which is really exciting. To be captain would be an absolute privilege to lift the trophy with these great bunch of blokes,” Cummins said on the eve of the mega-final.