ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final – Pat Cummins glad Australia ‘saved the best for the last’

Australia weren’t the clear favourites heading into the 2023 ODI World Cup. They began their campaign with two big losses, had injury troubles and a number of out-of-form players, and most of their wins in the league stages were not convincing enough. But captain Pat Cummins was pleased his side “saved the best for our last” as they convincingly beat hosts India – who were unbeaten in the tournament until Sunday – by six wickets in the final to lift the World Cup for the sixth time in history.

“You’ve got to go and win a World Cup,” he said at the post-match presentation. “You just can’t wait for it to happen. And I think you got to be brave at times, you got to take the game on. And it was a real shift after those first two games. With our batting particularly you saw the openers going out really aggressive and pretty much didn’t waver from that for the rest of the tournament.

“Think we saved our best for last. And a couple of big-match players stood up and, yeah, we’re pretty chuffed.”

In the final, too, Australia found themselves in trouble when they were down 47 for 3 chasing 241. Mohammed Shami had removed David Warner for 7 in the second over and Jasprit Bumrah had Mitchell Marsh caught behind for 15. Soon after, Bumrah got the crucial wicket of Steven Smith in the seventh over, having him pinned in front for 4.

It was only after that did Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne combine for the match-winning partnership of 192, to not let India into the game at any point then on.

“I was one of those blokes with the hearts fluttering upstairs, I was pacing [after 47 for 3],” Cummins said. “Marnus walked in and out and a cool head straightaway. And Trav just does what he does – really brave again, he takes the game on, puts the pressure back on the bowlers. And to do it on the biggest stage shows a lot of character.”

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