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‘Saved the best for last’

In the very first match, Australia lost to India by 6 wickets, and in the following match, they were defeated by South Africa by 134 runs. Starting the World Cup in such a manner, Australia turned the tables, defeating South Africa by 3 wickets in the semifinal and clinching victory over India by 6 wickets in the final to become world champions!

Pat Cummins, the fifth captain for Australia, chuckled and said, “I had reserved that space for the end.” Cummins himself stands as a great example for keeping the best for last. He didn’t take any wickets in the league phase’s three matches but excelled against Sri Lanka’s opponents, giving away only 32 runs in 7 overs, taking 2 wickets.

Cummins, who secured 10 wickets in 9 matches, grabbed 3 wickets for 51 runs in the semifinal and 2 wickets for 34 runs in the final. In Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, not a single boundary was hit in the 10 overs bowled against India. In this World Cup, there are eight bowlers who didn’t concede any boundaries in their full 10-over spells, but Cummins stands first among pacers.

Beyond individuals, the story of Australia turning things around in the World Cup becomes even more thrilling. Their previous World Cup triumph was in 2015 under Michael Clarke’s captaincy. Clarke had mentioned after the first two losses, “Playing like this will make Australia the laughingstock.”

After winning the World Cup yesterday, Cummins was asked about the message he conveyed to the team after losing the first two matches. The new World Cup-winning captain, reflecting the enduring Australian character, said, “I said we had to turn things around and win the World Cup. There’s no time to wait for it. We have to be bold and start from here.”

Winning seven out of the seven league matches, Australia secured a place in the semifinals. Then, they defeated South Africa by 3 wickets in the semifinal and clinched the title in Ahmedabad. Facing the packed gallery, Cummins won the toss and chose to field. Explaining his choice, Cummins said, “I’ve batted more in this tournament. Today, I felt that restricting runs will be beneficial. Batting will be easier later.”

Cummins’ perception was to keep India below 300 runs, but he and his bowlers restricted Rohit Sharma’s team to 240 runs. Then, with Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head’s 192-run partnership, they secured victory. With an outstanding performance of 42 balls and 6 wickets, Cummins confidently stated, “I feel that I had reserved that space for the end. Several players contributed in the big matches that propelled us forward.”

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