'Never expected this, not in a million years did I dream of this' - Travis Head
By Neil Manthorp.
"I wouldn't have thought of this in a million years, what an amazing day, I'm just thrilled to be part of it," said player-of-the-match, Travis Head, after leading Australia to a comprehensive, six-wicket victory against India in the World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday night.
Head was also the player-of-the-match in the World Test Championship final against India in June and in the semifinal against South Africa in at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
Opener Head scored a sensational 137 from just 120 balls with 15 fours and four sixes as the underdogs finished on 241 for four in just 43 overs, replying to India's total of 240 all out in which Mitchell Starc claimed 3-55 with two wickets apiece for Josh Hazlewood (2-60) and captain Pat Cummins (2-34).
Head was in Australia and missed the first three weeks of the tournament with a broken thumb but fully justified the faith shown in him by winning player-of-the-match awards in both the semifinal against South Africa and the final:
"It's a lot better than sitting on the couch at home," Head said. "I never saw this happening and I’m very lucky to be given the chance to contribute. The way I played the first 20 balls, it didn't look like it would happen but, the way Marnus played, I was able to settle into what was an amazing partnership," Head said.
Marnus Labuschagne came to the crease with Australia in trouble at 47 for three but played a test-match-like innings of 58* from 110 balls during a partnership of 192 to win the match:
"Winning this tournament is the greatest achievement I've ever been part of, to come to India and beat them after they won ten out of ten playing sensational cricket, is just unbelievable. I’m a man of faith but I'm lost for words," Labuschagne said. "Our bowlers set it all up, though. To bowl them out for 240 was an incredible effort. But we always believed that our best would be good enough."
Indian captain, Rohit Sharma, was the epitome of good grace and respect in defeat, admitting that his team, which performed so well on the way to the final, were not good enough on the only day which really mattered: "I'm very proud of the players and the way we played the game but, ultimately, we couldn’t do it in the final. Australia played better and deserved to win."