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Why this World Cup triumph eclipses all that has come before it


We’re coming in hot today on a couple of hours sleep and a bursting sense of national pride… and I know I’m not alone.

Throughout this year, our cricket team has been on an odyssey like none before.

Throughout their travels there have been triumphs, there have been controversies and there have been agonising failures.

In the wee hours, Pat Cummins’ men completed their trek by winning the World Cup in a hostile environment like few teams from these shores have ever been subjected to.

It was a triumph of planning and execution like you would rarely witness. That it came in the game that mattered most makes it the crowning glory of the mission.

Australia outwitted and outplayed an Indian team many had hailed unbeatable to thwart the host nation’s demonstration of cricketing might.

The captain did the unthinkable after winning the toss: Cummins handed the bat to India breaking all conventions about the weight of runs on the board in finals, the clear trend of this tournament and playing to Rohit Sharma’s preferred and dominant mode.

But Australia had a plan.

It worked so effectively that India was restricted just four boundaries after the initial 10-over power play… a staggering statistic.

The bowling was so clever and the fielding was brilliant.

240 was nothing like the totals India has produced at this tournament. Australia had budgeted for anything under 300.

The scourge of Indian conditions is that you can do all the hard work to open up the possibility of what seems like a manageable chase only to be swallowed up by the intensity and the mania. The fear was the dry pitch would cast a fatal spell.

And it’s not like we haven’t seen that before… the sweeping madness in Delhi earlier this year the most recent, but hardly isolated, example.

At 3/47 the sum of those fears was mounting… I wonder who among you went to bed fearing what was building.

Dave Warner went at a ball he shouldn’t have, Mitch Marsh got done by the lack of bounce and Steve Smith – who never thinks he’s out – was so scrambled that for once he thought he was. Only he wasn’t.

The non-review of an LBW that would have been overturned is one of the tell tales of the fever that gets visiting teams in those parts.

And the full force of the crowd had been unleashed. The fervor of the blue army.

Who could stand against it? Travis Head and Manus Labuschagne.

That partnership was further proof positive of the raft of good decisions made by every level of this Australian setup.

It was a huge gamble not to replace Head in the squad when he broke his hand in the lead up and was condemned to miss the first half of the tournament.

And Labuschagne was never really in the planning and spent the entire tournament waiting to be dropped.

But when it came time to decide the selectors liked the insurance of heavy duty battling should they be, say, 3 for 40-something in a final.

A 192-run partnership that required immense concentration, daring shot play and flecks of luck rendered India impotent.

From about 70 runs out it was clear Australia would win. I can’t remember feeling that way about a run chase in India before.

Proving you not only need the skill for it and the nerve for it - You’ve got to have the Head for it as well.

They’ve given it to us this year with the Test victory in Indore, that first Ashes thriller at Edgbaston and they topped all that in Ahmadabad just before 3am.

And this trophy’s place in the cabinet will be a revered one. We have a deep affection for 1987 – our first World Cup won in Pakistan and India.

1999 has long been our favorite – the unbeaten sequence in England after a stuttering start that culminated in a tied semi final and a thumping finals victory over Pakistan.

But every part of this eclipses what has gone before.

An unfancied team thought to be overloaded with red ball players led by a captain few thought worthy of his place in the team.

Players that looked moody and jaded as they lost their first two games and sat on the bottom of the table.

Then a nine-game streak to the title in conditions that have always proven tricky for the generations that have gone before… climaxing in a finals domination of a previously unbeaten Indian side.

By every measure this is the greatest and this morning we should revel together.

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