Cummins gives Australia a sniff in World Cup final

Scott Bailey |

Australia have given themselves a chance of causing a major boilover in the World Cup final, restricting undefeated hosts India to 240 in Ahmedabad.

On a slow wicket at Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday, Pat Cummins pulled all the right reins as captain in the field and took 2-34 from 10 overs with the ball himself.

After making the gutsy call to bowl first at the toss, Cummins got the key wicket of Virat Kohli for 54 and helped Australia turn the screws in the middle overs before India were all out on the last ball.

Mitchell Starc also removed Shubman Gill early and struck twice late to finish with 3-55, helping Australia at times silence a crowd of more than 100,000 locals dressed in blue. 

Starc gets KL Rahul
Mitchell Starc shone with the ball, capturing three wickets, including this dismissal of KL Rahul.

The visitors also fielded superbly, close to faultless with the exception of back-to-back overthrows in the 36th over.

India will still back themselves to defend the target with their spinners, but Australia are at least firmly in the hunt for a sixth title.

After Rohit Sharma made a point to attack Australia’s quicks and struck 47 from 31, the match turned when Glenn Maxwell beat the opener in flight and had him caught.

Travis Head took a great catch running back at point to complete the wicket, and from that moment on Australia were able to tie up the hosts.

India then went 98 balls between boundaries, as they scored at exactly four an over in the last 40 overs of the innings while reaching the rope only four times in that period..

With Rohit back in the changerooms, Cummins claimed his first wicket in the next over when he had Shreyas Iyer caught behind for four in a five-over spell of 1-14.

Cummins then got the key wicket of Kohli when the Indian megastar chopped on, ending a 67-run stand with KL Rahul. 

Rahul anchored India’s innings with 66 from 107, before he became Starc’s second victim with one that angled in and seamed away from the right-hander. 

Josh Hazlewood silenced the 100,000-plus crowd in Ahmedabad by getting rid of Suryakumar Yadav.

Hazlewood was also able to rebound from an early assault from Rohit to finish with 2-60, benefiting from some reverse swing later in the innings.

Adam Zampa also equalled Muttiah Muralitharan’s record for the most wickets by a spinner at a World Cup from 2007, with his 1-44 taking him to 23 for the tournament.

Chasing teams have won three of four games at Narendra Modi Stadium in this World Cup, with runs generally easier to come by under lights and with the dew.

India were able to bowl Australia out for 199 in the two teams’ first game of the tournament, where the hosts cruised to victory by six wickets in Chennai.