Head breaks Indian hearts, Australia win sixth World Cup

Travis Head
Travis Head in action in the final. Photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe

Ahmedabad: Australia won a record-extending sixth ICC World Cup title after opener Travis Head smashed a magnificent century to fashion their six-wicket victory in Sunday's final against the tournament's form team India.

Put in to bat, India rode battling half-centuries by K L Rahul and Virat Kohli to post a below-par 240 all out in exactly 50 overs at a packed Narendra Modi Stadium.

Australia suffered a top order wobble of their own but Head's 137 off 120 balls saw them romp home with seven overs to spare in match that never reached great heights.

The majority of those present in the 132,000 capacity ground sat in deathly silence as the home team, who had won 10 matches in a row to make the final, succumbed to their first loss of the tournament in the all-important summit clash.

Australian players celebrate after winning the World Cup. Photo: Reuters/Amit Dave

"What we've achieved today is unbelievable," a teary-eyed Marnus Labuschagne, who combined with Head in a match-winning partnership of 192, said.

"It's the best achievement I've ever been part of.

"India have been the team of the tournament, but you knew if you play your best cricket, you have a chance."

Australia's Mitchell Starc, centre, celebrates the wicket of Shubman Gill. Photo: PTI/Ravi Choudhary

Earlier, Pat Cummins's decision to field, primarily to avoid operating with a dewy ball in the night, bemused many but Australian bowlers, aided by some superb fielding, stifled their opposition.

India captain Rohit Sharma had been playing tone-setting knocks in their batting template in the tournament and it was no different in the final despite the early loss of Shubman Gill.

Rohit smashed three sixes in his entertaining 47 but fell just before the end of powerplay.

The opener stepped out against Glenn Maxwell but miscued his shot on the offside. Head ran backwards from cover to take a tumbling catch to get rid of the India captain.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli plays a shot. Photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe

Kohli (54) hit Mitchell Starc (3/55) for three boundaries in a row but India slumped to 81/3 in the 11th over when Cummins dismissed Shreyas Iyer caught behind.

Kohli and Rahul (66) then combined in a dour rebuilding job even if it meant going 16.1 overs without a boundary.

Kohli brought up his ninth 50-plus knock in 11 innings but soon departed after chopping a Cummins delivery on to his stumps.

Rahul hit just one four in his half-century illustrating how difficult the pitch was for shot-makers like him.

Australian wicketkeeper Josh Inglis took five catches, which is a record in a World Cup final.

Australia, when they came out to bat, slumped to 47/3 seven overs into what had looked like a straight-forward chase for them.

Mohammed Shami dismissed David Warner in his first over and Jasprit Bumrah removed Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith in his successive overs to inject some excitement into the match.

Player-of-the-match Head then combined with Labuschagne, who made 58 not out, to kill off the contest.

"What an amazing day! Just thrilled to be a part of it," said the opener who missed first half of the tournament with a broken hand.

"It was a great decision to bowl first and the wicket got better as the game went on."

After a stellar knock that included 15 fours and four sixes, Head missed out on hitting the winning runs when he holed out to Gill with just two runs required for victory.

That honour went to Glenn Maxwell, who ran two to seal their victory in front of a crestfallen Indian crowd, which had already seen the writing on the wall and started thinning out.

The Australian cricketers stormed the field, rushing past their disconsolate Indian opponents.

Rahul sank to his knees, while Mohammed Siraj was in tears after the sad end to their remarkable run in the tournament.

Kohli, who was adjudged player of the tournament for leading the run charts, sported a vacant look like most of his teammates.

Brief scores: India 240 in 50 overs (K L Rahul 66, Virat Kohli 54, Rohit Sharma 47; Mitchell Starc 3/55, Pat Cummins 2/34) lost to Australia 241/4 in 43 overs (Travis Head 137, Marnus Labuschagne 58 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 2/43).

Player of the match: Travis Head

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