Cummins pleased Australia has ‘saved the best for last’

Cummins pleased Australia has 'saved the best for last'

Australia were not the clear favorites heading into the 2023 ODI World Cup. They started their campaign with two big defeats, had injury problems and several players out of form, and most of their wins in the league stages were not up to par. convincing enough. But captain Pat Cummins was glad his team “saved the best for last” as they convincingly beat hosts India, who were unbeaten in the tournament until Sunday, by six wickets in the final to lift the ODI World Cup for the sixth time.

“We have to go win a World Cup,” he said in the post-match presentation. “You just can’t wait for it to happen. And I think sometimes you have to be brave, you have to take on the game. And it was a real change after those first two games. With our batting in particular, you saw the openers were very aggressive and they pretty much didn’t waver from that for the rest of the tournament.

“I think we saved the best for last. And a couple of important players stepped up and, yeah, we’re pretty happy.”

Also in the final, Australia found themselves in trouble as they trailed 47 for 3 chasing 241. Mohammed Shami had removed David Warner for 7 in the second over and Jasprit Bumrah had trapped Mitchell Marsh for 15. Soon after, Bumrah got the wicket crucial from Steven Smith in the seventh over, pinning him in front for 4.

It was only after that that Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne combined to form the match-winning partnership of 192, not to let India into the game at any point.

“I was one of those guys with my heart pounding, I walked [after 47 for 3]” Cummins said. “Marnus was in and out and cool-headed right away. And Trav just does what he does: really brave again, he takes over the game and puts pressure on the players again. And doing it on the biggest stage shows a lot of character.”

Australia were not only impressive with bat and ball but also with their fielding. Warner, 37, in particular, was electric on the field, diving to save a series of boundaries while playing close to the rope.

“[We were] desperate sure [on the field]”Cummins said. “It all started last week in South Africa [in the semi-final]. The boys are fantastic. And we have an aged side. But everyone keeps getting into the game, [especially] when you have a stadium as big as this full.”

Head, who was Player of the Match in the final for his 137 balls in 120, was injured at the start of the World Cup. The selectors, however, persisted with him and kept him in the squad. Returning in only Australia’s sixth match, against New Zealand, in the tournament, he smashed 109 off just 67 balls, playing a major role in the five-run victory. He was also the Player of the Match in the semi-final against South Africa for his total effort of 62 runs and two wickets.

“Unbelievable,” Cummins said of Head’s form in the tournament. “I think you have to give it to the selectors who supported him even when he was out with a broken hand and the medical team to get him back. It was a big risk we took and it paid off and we couldn’t be happier for Travis, a legend . We love it and it’s easy to watch.”

Cummins had said before the final that there was “nothing more satisfying” than silencing the more than 100,000 people in Ahmedabad. His team did it successfully, but he also said it was a “pretty special” moment to win in front of a massive crowd despite the support being one-sided in favor of India.

“I have to say (the crowd) was amazing,” he said. “I was very happy. They were solid during a lot of the bowling innings. A couple of times they made noise and it was very loud. But fantastic. I mean, the passion in India is unrivaled in the whole world. And I think it’s incredible. Every person is wearing the blue shirt. So you look around and it’s a very special moment that, whatever the result, we will never forget a day like today.”

Australia has won laurels in all formats this year under Cummins’ captaincy. They became world Test champions in June by beating India in the final, retained the Ashes in England and have now won the ODI World Cup. For Cummins, being crowned ODI champion is the most important thing.

“Yeah, it’s been amazing,” he said. “We’ve spent pretty much the entire Australian winter playing overseas but we’ve had a lot of success and this tops it all, we’re on top of the mountain.”