By David Parsons
Glamorgan batsman Marnus Labuschagne is a world champion after he played a key role in helping Australia beat India to win the World Cup.
Labuschagne – who began his stint with the Welsh county in 2019 and will return again next summer – hit 58 not out as the Aussies regained their status as the kings of one-day cricket.
His 192-run partnership with the brilliant Travis Head – who hit 137 – enabled Australia to claim a record-extending sixth World Cup title on Sunday, ending India’s dominant run in their home tournament with a six-wicket victory in a low-scoring final.
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne have ABSOLUTELY SMOKED India to help give Australia's Men's ODI side their sixth World Cup title. 🤩
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) November 19, 2023
The crowd was silenced as Head combined with Labuschagne to chase down the target of 241.
Australia were wobbling in their chase on 47-3 after seven overs but Head and Labuschagne dug in to help their country add to its 50-over world titles in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015.
Head was dismissed off what proved to be the next-to-last ball of the match, caught in the deep while attempting to hit a title-clinching boundary.
In came Glenn Maxwell and he ran two off his first ball, securing a victory that prompted fireworks above the world’s largest cricket venue, the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium.
The Indians won all 10 of their matches before the final and were seeking a third trophy in their fourth appearance in a title match that brought a country of 1.4 billion people to a virtual standstill.
Travis Head's explosive century, complemented by Marnus Labuschagne's steady 58, propelled Australia to a triumphant 6-wicket victory over India in the World Cup final at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium, securing their sixth championshiphttps://t.co/8oPLhhirCD… pic.twitter.com/AI0DHt2pX0
— Sportsmatik (@sportsmatik) November 20, 2023
But they were outplayed in every department by battle-ready Australia, though, and restricted to 240 all out on a slow pitch after losing the toss with only Virat Kohli (54) and Lokesh Rahul (66) making half-centuries.
“We were not good enough today,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said.
“We tried everything, but it didn’t work. We needed 20-30 more runs — we were looking at 270-280 but we kept losing wickets.
“When you have 240 on the board, you want to keep taking wickets. We took three, but credit to Head and Labuschagne for their partnership. We couldn’t open up the game.”
Kohli finished with 765 runs in 11 games with an average of 95.62. He was named player of the tournament.
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne put together a 192-run partnership to take Australia home!
— Grassroots Cricket (@grassrootscric) November 19, 2023
The final, though, belonged to Head who was named man of the match.
He became only the seventh player to score a century in a men’s World Cup final – and the third Australian after Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist – and he also delivered a significant moment in India’s innings when taking a diving catch running back from cover to remove Sharma (47).
Head’s ton saw him join an illustrious list, which includes West Indies’ Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, as well as Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva and Mahela Jayawardene.
Ponting’s 140 not out had also helped Australia beat India in the 2003 final. Jayawardene’s century is the only one in a losing cause with India winning the 2011 final.
“What an amazing day, I’m just thrilled to be a part of it,” Head said.
“It’s a lot better than sitting on the couch at home, I’m very lucky that everything went well and I was able to get back here.”
Good morning Australia pic.twitter.com/ma7xHpKnkw
— Marnus Labuschagne (@marnus3cricket) November 19, 2023
Head had started the tournament sidelined by a broken left hand.
“I was a little bit nervous, but Marnus played exceptional and it was just an amazing partnership.
“It’s nice to be a part of it, nice to play a role, and it’s going to be an amazing couple of days now.
“To be able to do that on the biggest stage, in front of a full house, under all that pressure is something I’ll be able to look back on later in my life.”
Australia finished the 2023 tournament with a run of nine straight wins, after starting with back-to-back defeats to India and South Africa.
— Marnus Labuschagne (@marnus3cricket) November 20, 2023