The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final is just two days away, and the cricketing world is buzzing with excitement and anticipation. India and Australia, two of the most successful and dominant teams in the history of the sport, will face each other at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, where over 100,000 fans will witness history in the making.
The final is a repeat of the 2003 edition, where Australia won by 125 runs in Johannesburg. However, this time, India will have the home advantage and the crowd support, as they aim to lift their third World Cup trophy and end a 12-year drought of major ICC global titles. Australia, on the other hand, will be looking to add a sixth World Cup to their illustrious cabinet and spoil India’s party.
How the teams qualified for the final
India cruised through the group stage, finishing top on a maximum 18 points having won all nine of their matches. India’s net run rate of 2.570 was far and away the best in the group stage. In the semi-final against New Zealand, Rohit Sharma led a blazing start with the bat, rocketing with fellow opener Shubman Gill, before Virat Kohli cruised to his 50th ODI century, passing Sachin Tendulkar. Posting an imperious 397, New Zealand showed some respite largely through a century from Daryl Mitchell, only to fall 70 runs short.
Australia bounced back from defeats to India and South Africa in their opening matches, and sitting in last place on the table, before going on to win the remaining seven matches, and qualify with 14 points. Pat Cummins’ side were slight underdogs in their re-match with South Africa come semi-final time, though the Aussies made an emphatic start, holding South Africa to 24/4. David Miller’s century gave the Proteas hope, though it was Cummins and Mitchell Starc who would wield their bats aloft in victory, holding on in a tense three-wicket win.
The key players to watch out for
Both teams are packed with star players who can turn the game on its head with their skills and temperament. Here are some of the key players to watch out for in the final:
- Virat Kohli: The Indian captain is arguably the best batsman in the world, and he has proved it once again in this tournament. He has scored 621 runs in 10 matches, including two centuries and four fifties. He is also the first player to score 50 ODI hundreds, surpassing his idol Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli will be eager to lead his team to glory and cement his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.
- Pat Cummins: The Australian skipper is not only a world-class fast bowler, but also a handy lower-order batsman. He has taken 18 wickets in 10 matches, including a four-wicket haul against South Africa in the semi-final. He has also scored 156 runs, including a crucial 42 not out in the same match. Cummins will be the leader of the Australian bowling attack, and will look to trouble the Indian batsmen with his pace and accuracy.
- Rohit Sharma: The Indian opener is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world, and he has shown his class in this tournament. He has scored 537 runs in 10 matches, including three centuries and two fifties. He has also formed a formidable opening partnership with Shubman Gill, who has scored 412 runs. Sharma will be the key to India’s batting, and will look to give his team a flying start in the final.
- Mitchell Starc: The Australian left-arm pacer is one of the most lethal bowlers in the world, and he has been in fine form in this tournament. He has taken 21 wickets in 10 matches, including two five-wicket hauls. He is also the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, and has the best strike rate among bowlers who have bowled more than 10 overs. Starc will be the main threat to India’s batting, and will look to strike early and often in the final.
How to watch the final
The final will be broadcast live on Disney Star and its licensees on a global basis. In India, Star Sports Network will be the place to watch, while cricket’s first-of-its-kind vertical feed coverage produced by ICC TV and supported by Disney Star continues, providing fans with an easier and more intuitive mobile phone viewing experience allowing users to consume content on-the-go. Fox Sports and Kayo will be the home of Australian coverage along with select matches on Channel Nine and 9Now. Fans in the UK can catch the action live on Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Mix, Sky Showcase and digitally via the SkyGO and Sky Sports App. Primetime, free-to-air highlights will be available on Channel 5 and My5 App for the first time.
WillowTV will be the channel to watch for fans in the USA whilst coverage will also be available via the ESPN+ app. SuperSport and its app will broadcast the action in South Africa and to the 52 Sub-Saharan Africa territories. For fans in New Zealand, Sky Sport NZ is the place to be for Men’s Cricket World Cup matches. In the UAE and the entire MENA region, all matches will be streamed Live on STARZPLAY, with broadcast coverage made available on CricLife MAX in the UAE. A complete list of broadcasters is available on the ICC website.
The final will start at 2:30 pm local time (9:00 am GMT) on Sunday, 19 November. The match will have a reserve day in case of bad weather. The winner of the final will take home US$4 million, while the runner-up will get US$2 million.