The crushing loss to Australia broke a billion hearts but the tournament gave all Indians – at home and abroad –immense pride, hope, aspiration and a lesson about the importance of team work
It was a moment few expected. Or a few wanted to ever see. The loss in the World Cup Final was a massive blow to the hopes of more than one billion people. India became a see of sadness on Sunday. India captain Rohit Sharma and Player of the Tournament Virat Kohli broke down in tears after a painful defeat to Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final.
But it was Australia who came through on the big day. After a fast-paced powerplay, the Australian bowling attack collaborated to bowl India out for 240. In the run chase of 241, Travis Head was the standout batter, striking an incredible century to give Australia their sixth ICC Cricket World Cup title.
The Men in Blue’s crushing six-wicket loss to Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad saddened Rohit, who led the team with determination. Kohli, who scored the most runs in the competition and was named player of the tournament, was also devastated by the loss. In a viral video posted by a user on X, Rohit and Virat were seen leaving the pitch with tears in their eyes.
Having an unbeaten run throughout the tournament till the final, India came so close to clinching their third World Cup crown, however, Travis Head stood tall between Men in Blue’s victory and starred with the bat, hitting an inspired century to win Australia’s men their sixth ICC Cricket World Cup crown.
A billion Indian hearts were broken on Sunday, but none more than the 11 players who gave their all on the field to reach the final after competing fiercely in the tournament for more than a month. Even though India did not win the 2023 World Cup at home, the way they performed throughout the competition was nothing short of an extraordinary dream for the billions of Indian supporters.
India’s run-scoring machine Kohli was named the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Player of the Tournament. Kohli’s brilliance with the bat was a defining feature of the tournament, with India’s number three scoring at least a half-century in nine of his 11 innings. His 765 runs in the tournament are the most ever scored by an individual batter at a men’s Cricket World Cup, surpassing the previous record set by Sachin Tendulkar, who hit 673 in the 2003 tournament.
The bulk of the supporters gathered at the Narendra Modi Stadium, wanting to see the host nation end their decade-long wait for an ICC trophy win. After the match, Rohit didn’t hold back while reflecting on the game and admitted that they didn’t play their best cricket. “We didn’t put enough runs on the board. With the seamers upfront, we took those 3 wickets and another wicket there, we could open up the game. Credit to those two guys in the middle for stitching an outstanding partnership,” Rohit said after the match.
Later, the tournament’s top wicket-taker, Mohammed Shami expressed gratitude towards fans for their support throughout the tournament and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for meeting players in the dressing room.
Shami took to X and thanked Indian fans for their unwearying support and shared a photo of the PM giving him a hug. “Unfortunately, yesterday was not our day. I would like to thank all Indians for supporting our team and me throughout the tournament. Thankful to PM @narendramodi for especially coming to the dressing room and raising our spirits. We will bounce back!” Shami wrote on X.
But now the feeling of loss is giving way to gratitude to the players for the way they played and gave hope to the entire country. India opener Shubman Gill on Monday penned a moving message and also made a bold assertion for the Indian team’s supporters across the world, expressing unwavering faith in the Men in Blue’s ability to succeed in any situation.
India won 10 consecutive games to reach the final on home soil but were defeated in the summit clash by Australia who delivered in all aspects of the game to register a six-wicket win over the hosts. India opener took to social media platform X and he insisted that sometimes giving it your all is insufficient, stating that this is not the end. Gill amassed 354 runs in nine innings with the help of 4 half-centuries.
“Been almost 16 hours but still hurts like it did last night. Sometimes giving your everything isn’t enough. We fell short of our ultimate goal but every step in this journey has been a testament to our team’s spirit and dedication. To our incredible fans, your unwavering support in our highs and lows means the world to us. This isn’t the end, it’s not over until we win. Jai Hind,” Gill posted on X.
1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev showered praises on skipper Rohit Sharma telling him to keep his spirits high as India stands with him. After putting India to bat in the World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Rohit ensured that the Men in Blue got off to a flying start with his blistering knock of 47 off 31 balls. But Maxwell’s wicked spin and Travis Head’s sensational catch brought an end to Rohit’s time on the field. From that point, the free-flowing boundaries became a rarity as the rest of the batters struggled to find the fence.
Kapil took to Instagram to praise the Indian skipper and motivate him to look forward to the future that lies ahead of him and wrote, “Rohit you are a master at what you do. You have a lot of success awaiting you it’s tough I know but keep your spirits up. India is with you.”
Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar congratulated the Australian team for clinching their record sixth ODI World Cup trophy but shared a heartwarming message for the Indian team. “Congratulations to Australia on their sixth World Cup win. On the most important day of the biggest stage, they played better cricket. Hard luck Team India, just one bad day in an otherwise sterling tournament can be heartbreaking. I can imagine the agony of the players, fans and well-wishers and what they must be going through. Losses are a part of the sport but let us remember that this unit gave their all for us throughout the tournament,” Sachin wrote on X.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah too hailed the unwavering spirit and the never-die attitude of the Indian team.
“Although the Men in Blue may have fallen short in the Cricket World Cup 2023 finals against Australia, their journey has left an indelible mark of inspiration. From triumph to tribulation, each match became a testament to the unwavering spirit, determination, and skill of our team. Winning all 10 matches leading up to the finals, they showcased the true essence of cricket – a game that is as unpredictable as it is beautiful. The entire nation rallied behind our boys, transforming this World Cup into a nationwide celebration of cricket in India. The energy, passion, and unyielding support from the entire population were truly incredible. To every single member of Team India, I express heartfelt gratitude. Your dedication, hard work, and perseverance have provided moments of pure joy throughout this tournament. You’ve made us proud, not just with your victories, but with the way you’ve played the game – with heart, with pride, and with a never-say-die attitude. The journey may have ended, but the pride and love for our team will resonate forever,” Shah wrote on X.
From all areas – celebrities to politicians – are backing the Indian team.
Actor Sidharth Malhotra on Monday morning reacted to team India’s loss against Australia at the World Cup 2023 final match held at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, Gujarat on November 19. Taking to Instagram, Sidharth shared a picture on his stories which he captioned, “Win or lose, it’s always “India India” for us! keep going stronger and congratulations on an outstanding tournament. #CWC2023Final.”
Even Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that India could not win the cricket World Cup trophy, but the team’s journey in the tournament was “nothing short of exceptional.”
“India may have missed the trophy, but their journey in the World Cup was nothing short of exceptional. They fought hard, played outstanding cricket, and showcased brilliance in every game. Kudos to our boys for making the nation proud throughout the tournament,” Arvind Kejriwal posted on X.
After the game, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Rohit Sharma-led side’s determination through their “noteworthy” campaign and said that they have brought immense pride to the nation.
That is the lesson from this world cup. It was proud journey which didn’t end in conquering the final frontier but it gave immense hope to all fellow travelers – in this case more than 1.4 billion Indians.