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Australia's World Cup journey: From embarrassing to inspiring

Pegged at the bottom of the table after two back-to-back losses, Australia were hallucinating at the dangerous prospect of an early exit from their sixth World Cup-chasing campaign. Sri Lanka were cruising nicely with 125 for no loss and looking good for much more. Captain Pat Cummins went for another bouncer and the Lankan right-hander went for the instinctive hook.
From deep square leg, David Warner , the youngest Aussie at 37, dived and effected a stunning catch.

One can say that the turnaround button was switched on that moment. It all started with a catch. In the final, eight hard-fought wins later, Travis Head replicated that Warner moment. Running back following a Rohit Sharma miscued skier, the eventual player of the match, threw himself to grasp a heart-stopping catch. The Australian story in the 2023 World Cup is dotted with such electrifying moments and periods of utter disbelief.

TOI takes a look at the Aussie journey...

  • Comfortable wins against Sri Lanka and Pakistan steadied the ship.
  • Big win over the Netherlands in Delhi got the net run rate back on track too.
  • New Zealand and England both made Australia work hard for the points where Australia showed the grit and determination their cricket is known for.
  • Afghanistan would have defeated the Aussies if not for one of the all-time great One-day innings from Glenn Maxwell . He scored 201 not out in 128 balls, battling severe cramps, to rescue the team from 91 for 7.
  • Against Bangladesh, Marsh scored 177 to boost their confidence.
  • Spinner Adam Zampa finished the group stage with the most wickets (22) while Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood all grabbed double-figures in support.
  • Australia's bowlers enjoyed their best Powerplay of the tournament - 2-18 from the first 10 overs - in the semifinal against South Africa. David Warner and Travis Head pumped 60 off the first six overs while Hazlewood bowled throughout to finish with two for 12 from eight overs.
  • Head, suffering from a broken arm in the first half of the tournament, returned to the theatre like the superhero with a blistering century in Dharamshala. At 47/3, Australia were wobbling in the final. Taking India head-on, the 29-year-old took the game away with a century to continue the legacy of Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.

  • Australia: WWWWWWWWWLL

    Winner's purse: $4 million (A$6.15m)

    LOST TWO, THEN WON ALL

    1. Aus vs Ind (Lose by 6 wkts)

    2. Aus vs SA (Lose by 134 runs)

    3. Aus vs SL (Win by 5 wkts; Zampa 4/47)

    4. Aus vs Pak (Aus win by 62 runs) Warner 163; Marsh 121; Zampa 4/53

    5. Aus vs Ned (Aus win by 309 runs) Maxwell 104, Warner 104; Zampa 4/8

    6. Aus vs NZ (Aus win by 5 runs) Head 109, Warner 81 , Zampa 3/74

    7. Aus vs Eng (Aus win by 33 runs) Labuschagne 71, Zampa 3/21

    8. Aus vs Afg (Aus win by 3 wkts) Maxwell 201 not out

    9. Aus vs Bangla (Aus Aus win by 8 wkts) Marsh 177 not out

    10. SEMI-FINAL : Aus vs SA (Aus win by 3 wkts) Travis Head 62

    11 FINAL: Aus vs Ind (Aus win by 6 wkts) Travis Head 137