India, the top-ranked ODI team in the world, entered the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 as one of the favorites to win the title. They had a stellar performance in the group stage, winning all nine matches and topping the points table. They also defeated New Zealand in the semi-final by six wickets, setting up a clash with Australia in the final.
However, India failed to lift the trophy for the third time, as they lost to Australia by six wickets in a one-sided contest. What went wrong for India in the final? Here are 15 mistakes that cost them the World Cup:
Losing the toss: India captain Virat Kohli lost the toss and was asked to bat first by Australia captain Aaron Finch. This proved to be a disadvantage for India, as the pitch at Narendra Modi Stadium favored the chasing team. The statistics show that out of the 48 matches played in the tournament, 32 were won by the team batting second.
Poor start: India got off to a poor start, as they lost their opener Shubman Gill for just four runs in the second over. Gill was caught behind by Josh Inglis off the bowling of Mitchell Starc, who swung the ball away from the right-hander. Gill had scored a century in the semi-final against New Zealand, and his early dismissal put pressure on the Indian batting line-up.
Rohit’s dismissal: India’s other opener Rohit Sharma was looking in good touch, as he scored 47 runs off 31 balls, with four fours and three sixes. He was dominating the Australian bowlers and seemed set for a big score. However, he threw away his wicket in the ninth over, when he tried to hit Pat Cummins over mid-off, but only managed to find Travis Head, who took a simple catch. Rohit’s dismissal was a big blow for India, as he was the leading run-scorer in the tournament, with 597 runs in 11 matches.
Kohli’s run-out: India’s captain and best batsman Virat Kohli was involved in a mix-up with Shreyas Iyer, which resulted in his run-out in the 15th over. Kohli had played a flick shot towards mid-wicket and called for a single. However, Iyer hesitated and sent Kohli back. Kohli tried to make his ground, but was short of the crease, as Glenn Maxwell threw the ball to Inglis, who whipped off the bails. Kohli was furious with Iyer, as he had scored 54 runs off 63 balls, and was looking to accelerate the innings. Kohli was the player of the tournament, with 765 runs in 11 matches.
Iyer’s dismissal: India’s number four batsman Shreyas Iyer failed to make amends for his role in Kohli’s run-out, as he was dismissed for just four runs in the 16th over. He tried to pull a short ball from Starc but only managed to top-edge it to Inglis, who took a simple catch. Iyer had scored a century in the group-stage match against Australia, and his early dismissal left India in trouble at 121 for 4.
Rahul’s slow knock: India’s wicket-keeper batsman KL Rahul played a slow and cautious knock, as he scored 66 runs off 107 balls, with only one four and no sixes. He struggled to rotate the strike and failed to hit the boundaries. He consumed a lot of balls and put pressure on the other batsmen. He was eventually dismissed in the 43rd over, when he tried to hit Adam Zampa over long-on, but only found Maxwell, who took a good catch.
Rahul’s knock was the slowest fifty-plus score in the tournament and the slowest by an Indian batsman in a World Cup final.
Jadeja’s dismissal: India’s all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who had played some crucial knocks in the tournament, was dismissed for just nine runs in the 29th over. He tried to sweep a ball from Zampa but missed it, and was trapped lbw. Jadeja did not review the decision, which was a mistake, as the ball-tracking showed that the ball was missing the leg stump. Jadeja’s dismissal ended a 53-run partnership with Rahul and exposed the Indian tail.
Yadav’s dismissal: India’s number eight batsman Suryakumar Yadav, who had impressed with his aggressive batting in the tournament, was dismissed for 18 runs in the 38th over. He tried to hit a full toss from Cummins over mid-wicket but only found David Warner, who took a low catch. Yadav had hit a six and a four in his 28-ball knock and was looking to up the ante. His dismissal left India at 197 for 7.
Shami’s dismissal: India’s fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 24 wickets in seven matches, was dismissed for six runs in the 45th over. He tried to hit a short ball from Starc over third man but only managed to edge it to Inglis, who took a diving catch. Shami’s dismissal ended a 23-run partnership with Kuldeep Yadav and left India at 220 for 8.
Bumrah’s dismissal: India’s other fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 20 wickets in 11 matches, was dismissed for one run in the 46th over. He tried to hit a full ball from Starc over long-on but only found Warner, who took another catch.
Bumrah’s dismissal left India at 221 for 9.
Yadav’s run-out: India’s spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who had played a useful cameo of 10 runs off 18 balls, was run out in the 50th over. He tried to steal a single off the last ball of the innings, but was short of the crease, as Maxwell threw the ball to Inglis, who broke the stumps. Yadav’s run-out ended India’s innings at 240 all out.
India had scored only 119 runs in the last 25 overs and had lost six wickets.
Warner’s dismissal: India got an early breakthrough in the second innings, as they dismissed Australia’s opener David Warner for seven runs in the third over. Warner had hit a four off the first ball of the innings but was caught by Kohli at mid-off off the bowling of Bumrah, who swung the ball back into the left-hander. Warner’s dismissal gave India a glimmer of hope, as he was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, with 594 runs in 11 matches.
Head’s century: Australia’s number three batsman Travis Head played a match-winning knock, as he scored 137 runs off 120 balls, with 15 fours and four sixes. He came to the crease after Warner’s dismissal and dominated the Indian bowlers. He shared a 156-run partnership with Mitchell Marsh for the second wicket and a 72-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne for the fourth wicket. He reached his century in the 31st over and celebrated by raising his bat and helmet to the crowd. He was eventually dismissed in the 41st over, when he tried to hit Shami over long-on, but only found Yadav, who took a good catch. Head’s knock was the highest individual score in a World Cup final, and he was named the player of the match.
Marsh’s dismissal: Australia’s number four batsman Mitchell Marsh, who had scored an unbeaten 177 in the semi-final against South Africa, was dismissed for 15 runs in the 15th over. He tried to hit a short ball from Shami over mid-wicket but only managed to top-edge it to Iyer, who took a simple catch. Marsh’s dismissal gave India another chance to come back into the game, as he was the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament, with 552 runs in nine matches.
Smith’s dismissal: Australia’s number five batsman Steve Smith, who was the captain of the team in the previous World Cup, was dismissed for four runs in the 18th over. He tried to cut a ball from Siraj but only managed to edge it to Rahul, who took a sharp catch. Smith’s dismissal left Australia at 88 for 3 and gave India some hope of defending their total. Smith had scored 458 runs in 11 matches in the tournament and was one of the best batsmen in the world.
Despite these 15 mistakes, India did not give up easily and fought till the end. They took six wickets and tried to create some pressure on the Australian batsmen. However, Australia proved to be too strong and chased down the target with 18 balls to spare. They won their sixth World Cup title and became the first team to win three consecutive World Cups. They also avenged their defeat to India in the group stage and ended India’s unbeaten run in the tournament.