In the 2023 World Cup final in Ahmedabad, both teams won the toss and chose to bat first, but Australia emerged victorious after the opening session. Pat Cummins’ decision to bat first in a high-stress match was viewed as a risky move, but the Australian speed attack carried out their strategy well, folding India for a mere 240 runs. Legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag praised Cummins’s captaincy and his on-field decisions, but they were also incensed with Virat Kohli and KL Rahul for not taking any chances against Australia’s part-timers.
India’s final two batting prospects, Kohli and Rahul, appeared to take things gently on the treacherous wicket as they battled the well-organized Australian attack with caution. The normally tense Ahmedabad crowd cheered when they pieced together a 67-run partnership in 18.3 overs, with Kohli scoring his fifth successive fifty-plus.
After India’s innings, Gavaskar expressed his disappointment to Star Sports about India, specifically to Rahul and Kohli, for not focusing on the part-timers during their partnership. He believed that India would have managed a total of 270 if the two had at least taken more singles and had not scored boundaries.
“This was the partnership that steadied the innings. But I feel they allowed the non-regular bowlers to get away with not too many runs. Travis Head bowling two overs for four runs, Mitch Marsh bowling two overs for not too many overs. Those were the overs which I feel they shouldn’t be taking too many risks, but not taking too many singles means those 20-30 runs should have come very handy. So we are 241 instead of suppose 265-270. There was always that fifth bowler they could target and there was no rush at that stage because the Marshs and Heads…those were the 10 overs that they should have targeted and that didn’t happen,” he added.
In conversation with Cricbuzz, Sehwag said, “After two wickets fell, Kohli and Rahul felt that the wicket was slow and that they will play comfortably to get to 250. So they didn’t take a single risk, when that was actually the second powerplay where five fielders were inside the circle. So best scenario would have been India scoring at least 4-5 runs an over even without boundaries. I mean one of the players should have taken the chance. Rahul played 107 balls to score 66 runs. Had he stayed till the end, may be he could have covered that up but that delivery from Starc was so good that he couldn’t have done anything”.