A look at the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which was dominated by India until the host nation ran into a…
A look at the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which was dominated by India until the host nation ran into a formidable performance by Australia in the final:
Australia regained its status as the king of ODI cricket to cap a stunning second half of 2023 when the team became world champion in test cricket and also retained the Ashes — for some, the pinnacle of the sport — by drawing a high-octane test series in England. Pat Cummins was the captain throughout it all and will go down as one of Australia’s great all-format cricket leaders. Travis Head, meanwhile, was player of the match in both the World Test Championship final against India in June and the World Cup final against the same opponent five months later. Australia has a long-held reputation for producing when it really matters, and beating India in its own back yard in front of nearly 100,000 spectators for a record-extending sixth title was another demonstration of that.
INDIA FALLS SHORT
India did everything right at the World Cup, delivering nine straight huge wins in the group stage and then another in the semifinals against New Zealand. It was all set up for them on Sunday — the best batting and bowling lineup playing in front of its prime minister and 92,000 fans in the world’s biggest cricket venue built especially for this moment, while a cricket-loving nation of 1.4 billion people held its breath. No wonder Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and the rest of the India team looked so heartbroken after Australia upset the odds and ensured an eerie silence spread through the Narendra Modi stadium that was a sea of Indian blue. Fans were seen crossing their fingers during the match and in tears afterward. India, the country which holds much of the power in world cricket, remains stuck on two 50-over World Cup titles. Since winning the 50-over World Cup in 2011, India has lost the T20 World Cup final in 2014, the Champions Trophy final in 2017, the World Test Championship finals in 2021 and this year, and now this World Cup final on home soil.
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
It had to be Kohli, the India great who strengthened his status as the best player of his generation with a tournament-high 765 runs. No player had ever scored in excess of 700 runs in a single World Cup until “The King” scored three hundreds — including a record 50th in ODIs, surpassing the mark of his idol Sachin Tendulkar — as well as six half-centuries to average 95.62 in 11 innings. Kohli looked like he wanted to be anywhere else as he collected his award for the tournament’s best player after the final. Eventually, he’ll look back on this World Cup with pride, as well as some regret his team couldn’t get over the line.
TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT
The ICC’s team of the tournament contained six of India’s beaten finalists and only two of Australia’s champions. There was a spot for a player from the underwhelming Sri Lanka team, pacer Dilshan Madushanka, and no sight of anyone from the big disappointment of the World Cup, ousted champion England, or the surprise of the tournament, Afghanistan. The team: Quinton de Kock (South Africa), Rohit Sharma (India), Virat Kohli (India), Daryl Mitchell (New Zealand), KL Rahul (India), Glenn Maxwell (Australia), Ravindra Jadeja (India), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Dilshan Madushanka (Sri Lanka), Adam Zampa (Australia), Mohammed Shami (India).
MOMENT OF THE TOURNAMENT
Glenn Maxwell’s outrageous 201 not out against Afghanistan is being widely viewed as the best innings in World Cup history and one of the greatest knocks ever in cricket. He finished it barely able to move because his legs had cramped up and it resembled a golfer teeing off to a moving ball. Fittingly, it finished with him smashing the ball over deep midwicket for a match-clinching six. “Ridiculous,” was how Australia captain Pat Cummins summed it up. “It has got to be the greatest thing that has ever happened.” It was the 11th double-hundred in ODIs, but the first in a team chasing.
There’s a long list of players for whom this was likely their final World Cup. De Kock announced before the tournament that he’d be quitting the format and he signed out in style with 594 runs in 10 innings at an average of 59.40 for the Proteas, with only Kohli scoring more. Another opener, David Warner, is in the midst of a long goodbye to international cricket and ended his ODI career with another World Cup winner’s medal. Afghanistan fast-bowler Naveen-ul-Haq and England left-arm quick David Willey were among the less-celebrated players to have already ended their ODI careers, while Sharma (age 36) and injury-prone Ben Stokes (age 32) are cricket greats who might not be seen again at the tournament.
NEXT STOP, AMERICA
Men’s tournament cricket is off, for the first time, to the United States as the ICC looks to break new ground and expand into new markets. Next year’s Twenty20 World Cup will be co-hosted by the U.S. and the Caribbean from June 4-30, with Grand Prairie outside Dallas, Broward County in Florida and Nassau County, New York, staging matches at American venues. There will be seven venues in the Caribbean. The United States qualifies as hosts and will be playing in a limited-overs World Cup for the first time. The country played in the 50-over Champions Trophy in 2004, losing both of its group-stage matches. The next men’s 50-over World Cup is in 2027 and scheduled to be staged in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
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