Rex Clementine in Ahmedabad
On Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, 138,000 adoring fans will be rooting for India to go onto win their third World Cup title. Captain Rohit Sharma could go down in history as the third Indian to win the World Cup after Kapil Dev in 1983 and M.S. Dhoni in 2011.
India have looked the best side in the competition by a country mile. They have been unbeaten in the tournament, winning all their ten games and rarely have been tested. Their top order is solid while their middle order is capable of finishing things off in style.
Spin used to be India’s strength all these decades, but the current team’s pace attack has made the spin department look a pale shadow of its former self.
It is India’s lower order that has not been tested and fielding looks bit susceptible. Plus, India are due for a bad game as well having swept everything ahead of them without much trouble.
Australia, meanwhile, started off the tournament poorly losing their first two games. Their campaign gained momentum midway through, and they have played some top cricket to reach the finals. They were up against the wall against Afghanistan before Glen Maxwell’s double hundred bailed them out as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Then in the semi-final, South Africa really tested them, and they did well to hold onto their nerves to clinch a hard-fought win.
All bases have clicked for Australia, yet, they are the underdogs in the final and if there was one team that India didn’t want to play in the finals, it was the Aussies.
Australia have won a record five World Cup titles and they are chasing a sixth. Leading up to the World Cup, not many gave them a chance to make it to the finals, but the hallmark of successive Australian sides has been their ability to bring the best in crunch games.
The expectations are high in India. Everyone wants to get hold of a ticket and people are reselling tickets at the princely sum of INR 800,000, per ticket. England had played two games in Ahmedabad before, and their press were put up at a hotel that charges GBP 90 a night. For the finals, that price has gone up to GBP 2000 a night. Flights tickets are exorbitantly high. Bombay to Ahmedabad is a short one-hour flight and usually it costs INR 5000. But lead up to the final tickets are being sold at INR 25,000. Ahmedabad is the place everyone wants to be on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to grace the final as the Chief Guest.