Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins. (Photo Source: Twitter)
One of the most painful memories for a ’90s Indian kid is the heartbreaking loss Sourav Ganguly’s men suffered at the hands of Ricky Ponting’s Australia in Johannesburg in the 2003 ODI World Cup final. A couple of decades later, Rohit Sharma and Co. have the chance to extract revenge from an Australian side that is not as compact and formidable as they were in 2003.
Fans look for similarities between certain situations to give themselves hope of something positive happening. Interestingly, there are several uncanny similarities between the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, November 19, and the one played 20 years ago in the Rainbow Nation.
A dominant team meets team on a comeback trail
In 2003, Australia went into the final on the back of an unbeaten streak of 10 matches in the marquee event. This time, India is the team that has made it to the summit clash with 10 consecutive victories under their belt.
On the other hand, India, back in 2003, suffered a one-sided nine-wicket defeat against Australia after beating the Netherlands in their first league game. The ‘Men in Blue’ bounced back strongly to win eight consecutive games en route to the finals. This time, Australia is the team that has responded strongly to win eight back-to-back matches after suffering losses in their first two league games.
Only two teams in the history of the World Cup have managed a winning streak of 10 in a single edition. Australia achieved the feat in 2003 and 2007 and went on to win the finals as well, making it 11 wins in a row. India is the second team with 10 wins in a single edition and can equal the record of 11 wins in a single edition by emerging victorious on Sunday.
Seeking third title
India are aiming to win their third ODI World Cup title on Sunday. They won the coveted title in 1983 and 2011. Incidentally, Australia won their third title back in 2003 after triumphing in the 1987 and 1999 editions of the tournament.
The make-shift wicketkeeper – ‘Rahul’ connection
Rahul Dravid donned the wicketkeeping gloves in 2003, as it facilitated more balance in the team. The current India coach did a fine job behind the stumps and also contributed 318 runs with the bat in 10 innings at an average of 63.60.
This time, India has handed KL Rahul, another make-shift wicketkeeper, the big gloves. After Rishabh Pant suffered an accident earlier this year and was subsequently ruled out of action, India had two options left for the crucial wicketkeeping role. Frontline wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan was one of the options, and he did relatively well in the chances he got. However, India chose Rahul over Kishan for the showpiece event and the Karnataka cricketer hasn’t disappointed. He has been sharp behind the stumps and also scored 386 runs in nine innings at 77.20.
Record-breaking highest run-getter
In 2003, Sachin Tendulkar broke the record for the most number of runs scored by a batter in a single edition of the ODI World Cup. The legendary batter finished with 673 runs in 11 games at an average of 61.18.
Virat Kohli broke this 20-year-old record during his sensational century against New Zealand in the semifinals in Mumbai. The former India captain has amassed 711 runs in 10 games at an average of 101.57.