Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, under whose leadership the ‘Men In Blue’ reached the final of the 2003 ODI World Cup in South Africa, arrived in Ahmedabad on Saturday to watch the final of the ongoing edition between the hosts and Australia. The World Cup final will be hosted by the Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricketing arena in the world, on Sunday. Talismanic former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led India to three world titles — 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup, and 2013 Champions Trophy — is also likely to attend what is being billed as a pulsating final with the five-time world champions.
Ganguly, nicknamed the ‘Prince of Calcutta’, was pictured checking out of the Ahmedabad airport upon his arrival to the city on Saturday.
The former skipper, who is remembered for raising the standards of Indian cricket, especially with regard to the team’s performances overseas, and imbibing in his charges a killer instinct and a will to win on all surfaces, said the ‘Men In Blue’ need to continue with the same brand of cricket that they have dished out so far in the tournament to emerge champions.
The final will also offer the hosts an opportunity to avenge their losses to Australia in 2003 World Cup final and also the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) earlier this year.
“India is looking smashing at the moment. I wish them all the best for Ahmedabad. India have played very well in the tournament and just one match and Australia stand between them and the World Cup trophy. If India continue to play like how they have performed in the tournament so far, then it will be tough to stop them. It will be a good match as Australia have a good team as well,” Ganguly told reporters on Friday.
India stormed into the finals after registering a comprehensive 70-run victory over New Zealand on Wednesday. After Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s explosive start, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer scored a ton each to put India on course to a massive target.
KL Rahul arrived to apply the finishing touches to power India to a score of 397/4. Mohammed Shami’s spell saw him clinch a seven-wicket haul to derail the Kiwis and seal India’s trip to Ahmedabad.
In the second semifinal, South Africa made Australia sweat in their chase of a humble target of 213 on a spiteful surface at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
The five-time champions slipped in its chase but recovered just in time to scrape past the Proteas.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins and speedster Mitchell Starc held their nerves to take the hosts to a three-wicket win.
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