Pat Cummins spoke of reaching the “pinnacle” of cricket after Australia claimed their sixth men’s World Cup title and, with it, broke the hearts of a nation.
India had cruised into the final of this home World Cup as favourites, a searing run of 10 successive wins leading most observers to believe the trophy would be theirs for a third time. With a crowd of 92,453 in attendance on the day, all but a handful willing them on, only another slick performance was needed to match the expectations.
Instead, an Australian side that began the campaign with two defeats and few such predictions offered a reminder of their historic pedigree in the tournament. Cummins marshalled his troops superbly to bowl out India for 240 in 50 overs, before Travis Head’s barnstorming 137 from 120 balls wrapped up a famous six‑wicket triumph.
“That’s huge, that’s the pinnacle in cricket, winning a World Cup, especially here in India,” said Cummins, a captain who this year won the World Test Championship and retained the Ashes. “These are the moments you remember for the rest of your life.”
Regarding Head, who alongside Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out), turned a worrying 47 for three into a match-winning stand of 192, Cummins said: “He epitomises everything I want out of a cricket team. He takes the game on, he just puts the pressure right back on to the opposition and he’s great fun to be around. I couldn’t be happier for Trav.”
Head entered the tournament halfway through after initially staying back in Australia to recover from a broken hand sustained in early September. The 29-year-old finished as player of the match in a World Cup final, becoming the third Australian after Ricky Ponting (2003) and Adam Gilchrist (2007) to do so with a match-winning hundred.
Head said: “It’s a lot better than watching the World Cup on the couch at home. I was a little bit nervous but Marnus played exceptionally well and soaked up all the pressure. It’s nice to contribute in front of a full house but I’m definitely third on that list.”
As Cummins was presented with the trophy by Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister whose name adorns the ground, the Australia captain’s opposite number, Rohit Sharma, could only look on. “We were not good enough today,” Sharma said. “We tried everything but it wasn’t to be.
“I feel the pitch got slightly better to bat on under lights but I don’t want to give that as an excuse. We didn’t put enough runs on the board. Credit to those [Head and Labuschagne] for stitching together an outstanding partnership.”