Australia breaks a billion hearts to claim its sixth World Cup in India
The Aussies have made history, winning their sixth World Cup in India and defeating the hosts by six wickets in their only loss of the Cup, thanks to a sensational performance from Travis Head
READING LEVEL: GREEN
Australia has denied India and claimed its sixth one-day World Cup title in a heartbreaking finish for the hosts.
The Aussies silenced a crowd of 92,453 at the Narendra Modi Stadium as Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne overcame their side’s shaky start.
Chasing 241, the target seemed a mile off when Australia plummeted* to 3-47 at the end of the seventh over, after Steve Smith decided against reviewing an lbw* decision from umpire Richard Illingworth that would have been overturned* if referred upstairs.
But Head and Labuschagne vindicated* the faith of selectors, guiding the Aussies to victory. It was India’s only defeat in a tournament that will be remembered as the one that got away.
Despite being the outright favourite, India has not won a senior men’s world title since 2011.
The sea of blue shirts in the crowd thinned as Australia’s fourth-wicket pair whittled away at the target. Head’s magnificent 137 from 120 balls in a 192-run partnership left Australia with just two needed to win.
Glenn Maxwell struck the winning runs with a two to deep mid-wicket off Mohammed Siraj, as Australia secured a six-wicket victory with 42 balls to spare.
Forced to stay home for the early part of the tournament after suffering a broken hand in South Africa in September, Head posted his second century of the tournament, nullifying* India’s spin pair of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in one of Australia’s greatest one-day displays.
Labuschagne, who was not in Australia’s preliminary 18-man extended squad for this tournament, capped his incredible comeback story, fending off India’s attack after the early loss of David Warner (seven), Mitch Marsh (15) and Smith (four).
The win adds to a title-rich year for the Aussies, who claimed the World Test Championship crown against India in June before retaining the Ashes in England via a drawn series. Head was player of the match in the WTC decider at The Oval, an award he also won for his showing in the semi-final victory against South Africa.
Captain Cummins backed up his call with a mighty bowling effort, while a fantastic catch by Head removed Indian skipper Rohit Sharma for 47 and proved a turning point.
Virat Kohli was still looking dangerous though, before Cummins plunged the world’s biggest cricket stadium into silence as the Indian great went for 54 to a short ball.
From there India’s chances of reaching 300 were looking slim, and so it proved as Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc curtailed* the home side.
Cummins finished with 2-34 from his 10 overs in what was an exceptional display.
THE AUSSIES’ PATH TO GLORY
Australia’s road to victory meant overcoming South Africa in another classic semi-final, after they claimed a three-wicket win* with just 16 balls remaining*.
While not quite as close to the wire as the 1999 World Cup semi-final between the two sides, the match was filled with tension* as Australia crawled to victory in an extraordinary contest*.
The result saw South Africa knocked out in a World Cup semi-final for the fifth time – three times by Australia – and still searching for its first final appearance.
For Australia, it was the eighth time the team has qualified for the final.
Regular wickets* kept it tense, and when Steve Smith (30) was the sixth wicket to fall, it left the tail* exposed with 39 runs still to be made.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins combined to get Australia home as the skipper hit the winning runs with 16 balls still remaining.
Head, who also took two wickets in two balls in his five overs for 2/21, was named the Man of the Match.
“The Australians have got out of jail*,” ex-Aussie captain Ricky Ponting said in commentary*.
While on paper the low-scoring thriller* didn’t seem like much, it was an intense contest* and proved the perfect preparation for the final triumph against India.
- LBW: leg before wicket, a rule that means the batsman is out if the ball strikes any other part of his body aside from his hand
- overturned: reversed, revoked, to change an official decision
- plummeted: fell at top speed
- nullifying: stopping the effectiveness or impact of something
- three-wicket win: Australia won the match by three wickets, meaning they successfully chased the target set by South Africa
- balls remaining: the number of cricket balls (throws) left to be bowled in the match
- tension: feeling of nervousness or excitement
- extraordinary contest: an exceptional and remarkable competition
- decider: the match that determines the champion
- tournament: the entire series of matches in the Cricket World Cup
- wickets: the number of times a team loses a batsman
- spinners: bowlers who specialise in delivering spinning balls
- tail: the lower-order batsmen in a cricket team
- unheralded: not widely known or recognised
- out of jail: an expression meaning escaping a difficult or challenging situation
- commentary: the spoken or written description of a cricket match
- low-scoring thriller: a match with fewer runs scored but filled with excitement and tension
- intense contest: a closely fought and competitive match
- Describe Australia’s performance in the Cricket World Cup final against India. What was the final result, and who did they have to overcome in the semi-final?
- What was a turning point in the match?
- Identify the players mentioned in the story who played crucial roles in Australia’s victory. What were their contributions to the team’s success?
- Explain the significance of the term “man of the match” and why Travis Head received this title in the semi-final. What were his notable achievements in the final against host nation India?
- India was the favourite to win the World Cup - but when did they last win a senior men's world title?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Use the words
Think about these words and phrases from the story: ‘the one that got away’, ‘heartbreaking’, ‘down to the wire’, ‘turning point’, ‘filled with tension’, ‘exposed’, ‘thriller’, ‘extraordinary’.
Make sure that you know what they all mean. Then, plan and write a story that uses all of the words and phrases. Your story cannot be about sport.
Time: allow at least 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking
Rewrite the story from the point of view of an Indian cricket fan. You could use your research skills to find out more about the Indian cricket team and how they scored or what they did during the match.
Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education
To sum it up
After reading the article, use your comprehension skills to summarise in a maximum of three sentences what the article is about.
What is the main topic or idea?
What is an important or interesting fact?
Who was involved (people or places)?
Use your VCOP skills to re-read your summary to make sure it is clear, specific and well punctuated.