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Australia sniffing at 6th title after restricting India to 240

Pro-Palestinian pitch invader disrupts WC final
AFP . Ahmedabad
19 Nov 2023 19:01:35 | Update: 19 Nov 2023 19:23:47
Australia sniffing at 6th title after restricting India to 240
Australia's Mitchell Starc (2L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of India's KL Rahul (R) during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) final match between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19, 2023 — AFP Photo

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc took three wickets as Australia dismissed India for 240 in the World Cup final in front of nearly 130,000 fans in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Five-time champions Australia elected to field first and the players backed up skipper Pat Cummins' decision with disciplined bowling and impressive fielding at the world's biggest cricket stadium filled with a sea of India's blue jerseys.

Australia will need 241 to secure their sixth World Cup title. India are chasing their third crown after 1983 and 2011. 

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul hit 54 and 66 respectively after captain Rohit Sharma's attacking 47 but the ball dominated the bat on a slow, dry pitch.

Starc, a left-arm quick, returned figures of 3-55 while fellow pace bowlers Cummins and Josh Hazlewood claimed two each to end the innings in 50 overs.

Wicketkeeper Josh Inglis claimed five catches in a record for a World Cup final 

Rohit came out attacking and hit a six in the fourth over followed by a four, but lost partner Shubman Gill, for four, off Starc.

Kohli started cautiously but soon gained steam with three successive boundaries off Starc to bring the capacity crowd to its feet.

Australia introduced spin in the eighth over with Glenn Maxwell replacing Hazlewood and he soon claimed the big breakthrough of Rohit.

The India captain mistimed a shot and Travis Head took a stunning catch while running backwards from cover point.

India, who came into the contest undefeated with 10 wins, slipped to 81-3 in 10.2 overs when Cummins sent back the in-form Shreyas Iyer, who came into the game on the back of two centuries, caught behind for four.

Kohli was joined by Rahul as the two went about their repair job in a partnership of 67 which was briefly interrupted by a pro-Palestinian pitch invader.

India went without a boundary for 16.1 overs with some disciplined Australian bowling mixed with sharp fielding denying the batting pair easy runs.

Kohli reached his fifth successive fifty-plus score in the tournament and Rahul broke the shackles with a four off Maxwell.

Cummins then produced a delivery to back up his pre-match words of "nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent" when he bowled Kohli.

Kohli chopped a short-of-a-length delivery on to his stumps as he stood in disbelief before trudging off and Cummins celebrated.

The star batsman, who smashed a record 50th ODI century in the semi-final against New Zealand to surpass compatriot Sachin Tendulkar's 49 tons, finishes the tournament with 765 runs at an average of over 95.

Rahul reached his fifty in 86 balls and attempted to anchor the innings to the end but Starc dismissed the batsman caught behind and the rest of the order didn't last long.

Pro-Palestinian pitch invader disrupts WC final

A pro-Palestinian protester in India broke through security cordons to invade the pitch at the Cricket World Cup final on Sunday, stopping play briefly while he hugged superstar batsman Virat Kohli.

Wearing a face mask in the colours of the Palestinian flag, and a T-shirt with the slogan "Stop Bombing Palestine", the unnamed young protester ran onto the pitch in the 132,000-seat mega-stadium in India's western city of Ahmedabad.

He was escorted off the pitch by security officers, and play swiftly resumed.

Israel has vowed to destroy the Palestinian armed group Hamas in response to their October 7 attacks, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.

The army's relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,300 people, more than 5,000 of them children, according to the Hamas government.

India, which has a long-standing call for an independent Palestinian state, has condemned Hamas and airlifted aid to Egypt for Palestinian civilians from the besieged Gaza Strip.