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regular-article-logo Saturday, 02 March 2024

Pat Cummins’ decision to bat second draws comparisons with Sourav Ganguly’s similar choice during 2003 World Cup final

There were whispers that Australian camp wasn’t happy with the wicket though Cummins never made an issue of the wicket at the match-eve news conference

Our Special Correspondent Ahmedabad Published 20.11.23, 08:00 AM
Captains Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins at the toss on Sunday.

Captains Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins at the toss on Sunday. PTI picture

The players had hardly walked off the field at the innings break when commentators Ravi Shastri and Ricky Ponting dashed to check the dew on the stadium greens. Dusk had just started to settle in this part of the country though the floodlights were in full glow.

It was with the hope that dew would make it easier to chase under lights in the
second session that Pat Cummins decided to put India into bat in the World Cup final on Sunday.

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But 240 was not going to be an easy target. It was dry besides being slow and low. It had previously been used during the India-Pakistan match more than a month ago.

There were whispers that the Australian camp wasn’t happy with the wicket though Pat Cummins never made an issue of the wicket at the match-eve news conference.

Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell did get some purchase out of it in the first half though there was not much help for the Indian spin duo.

Cummins’ decision to bat second drew comparisons with Sourav Ganguly’s similar choice during the 2003 final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Sourav had then been influenced by a wet patch on the wicket though it hardly made much difference to Ricky Ponting’s team.

Ponting himself made an unbeaten 140 off 121 balls as the Indians were crushed by 125 runs. The Indians though believed that Harbhajan Singh was denied a genuine leg before decision against Ponting in the days when DRS was non-existent.

“Looks like a bit of a dry wicket and we wanted to bowl first,” Cummins said at the toss. “Dew is one factor and it’s quite dewy in the night at this venue.”

It suited Rohit since he had planned to bat first and put runs on the board.

But Cummins’ decision proved to be prophetic. The conditions seemed to suit the Australians as the Indians struggled.

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