The Cricket World Cup 2023 ended in Mumbai, India, with a deafening silence and rows of empty seats.
Long before Australia scored the winning runs in Sunday’s final, fans began to leave the Narendra Modi Stadium in Gujarat, an Indian state in the west.
The Australians have now won the championship six times. A dream was dashed for hosts India, who made it to the championship after 10 unbeaten games.
Since this was Sriraj Namboodiri’s first time watching India play at the World Cup, he told Al Jazeera over the phone from Ahmedabad, “I was quite excited about the match, but it just wasn’t our day.”
People flocked to restaurants, pubs, and cafes across the cricket-obsessed South Asian country for public screenings of the India-Australian match, which had been the subject of much-anticipated final discussions.
However, thousands of spectators in the stadium’s 100,000+ capacity started to get up before the game ended as the Indian players stumbled and gawked in defeat. This was a depressing sight considering how flawlessly India made it to the championship.
“The stadium’s crowd was awful. Namboodiri, who had traveled from Mumbai to watch the game with his brother, said, “I didn’t enjoy the experience.”
The majority of fans would have stayed behind for the presentation ceremony if the game had taken place in Chennai or Mumbai. After all, this was a World Cup final, the biggest cricket match in the world, and it was taking place here.
“You would continue to be a cricket fan.” You are only leaving because you are a phony fan, if that makes sense. ” “
The number of spectators who have already left the stadium is quite pitiful. For one and a half months, this team performed flawlessly. At the conclusion of this incredible game, they—along with the world champions Australia—deserve a standing ovation. not vacant seats
A top-tier Indian football team’s communications manager, Annujj Palaye, said it was “understandable” to see Indian fans leave early, but he was more disappointed that the crowd did not support India during their trying times.
It was probably chosen for the final because the stadium is stunning and makes for a fantastic setting. However, Palaye claimed that it didn’t appear that India had a home advantage.
In both innings’ first 10 overs, the crowd was energized, but for the most part, it remained silent. ” “
Toss is very important.
According to Namboodiri, the host team’s loss of the toss itself was a turning point.
“The pitch was black soil, which makes it much harder to bat on.” Namboodiri, a sports media expert himself, described the pitch as being somewhat sluggish and pacer-friendly.
According to India’s current batting order, Shubman Gill or Virat Kohli typically get the team going after Rohit [Sharma, Indian captain] gets going. Gill left soon after Rohit finished his work, which put Kohli and KL Rahul under pressure to get off to a good start. The team lost its anchor in the middle order as a result of Kohli’s unfortunate exit, he continued.
India missed their target by 30 to 40 runs, according to Radha Lath Gupta, an Ahmedabad management student who watched the finals.
India’s bowling was so electric in the first ten overs, but it eventually became a little predictable. Australia could simply rotate the strike and get by because we had fewer runs available. She said they weren’t required to take chances.
India also didn’t exert any pressure while fielding. [Travis] Head and Marnus Labuschagne had time to settle down thanks to spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav on either end. It’s very difficult to remove a top-notch batter after they make it to the World Cup final. ” “
Former West Indies cricket commentator and player Ian Bishop praised Australia during a post-game interview, claiming that India had “championship-winning DNA” and had lost to them.
Gupta concurred. “Australia ran the World Cup properly.” They faced obstacles early on, which helped them get ready for the finish. Although Australia’s tournament wasn’t perfect, they did have a run that peaked just in time, according to her.
The final on Sunday was a rematch of the 2003 World Cup, in which Australia defeated India by 125 runs. Ricky Ponting, the team’s then-Australian captain, contributed 140 runs to their impressive 360-run final.
The game, according to Palye, was comparable to this year’s summit clash after watching the 2003 final on television.
At the time, Sourav Ganguly, an aggressive [former] Indian captain, was leading India in a new era of cricket. He claimed that was Indian cricket’s new look.
It felt like a punch in the stomach to concede 350 or more runs following India’s performance at the  tournament. It resembled the final of this year. ” “
What will happen to Kohli and Sharma next?
As their stellar campaign came to a dull close, Indian captain Rohit Sharma, 36, and ace hitter Virat Kohli, 35, both appeared teary-eyed. Sharma was the tournament’s second-highest player, scoring 765 runs with an average of 96 runs.
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Sixties and Fifties
A round of applause for Virat Kohli, the #CWC23 Player of the Tournament and #TeamIndia #MenInBlue #Finalpic. twitter . com/PncstjqQPf
“You got to see a different Rohit at this World Cup, one who didn’t want to play pragmatically, with his fearless captaincy.” That perfectly captures him, Palaye told Al Jazeera.
I am aware that Rohit might not have another World Cup appearance, but it won’t reflect poorly on his career. ” “
Fans of India hope to see the athletic Kohli perform until the 2027 edition of the competition, even though they anticipate Sharma to do so.
According to “Fitness-wise, Kohli can play in 2027, but it depends on him.” Namboodiri said, “We can’t really tell for sure what’s going through his mind.”
Gupta, however, is unsure.
A 39-year-old playing at a World Cup is unlikely, but Kohli would be the only player who could do so at 39, she said.
Online abuse affects Australians.
Some of Australia’s players received criticism on social media shortly after they were covered in confetti celebrating their sixth World Cup victory.
One of the main targets of online abuse and threats on Instagram was Head, whose outstanding score of 137 ensured his team’s victory. Some accounts even made rape threats against his wife.
Additionally, abusive messages were sent to Australian podcaster and sportscaster Ian Higgins. Jimmy Neesham, a player for New Zealand, posted screenshots of the insults he endured from Indian supporters who mistook him for an Australian.
The fans’ actions were condemned by Palye.
I am aware that sports can be emotionally draining, but knowing how to channel that rage requires a rational mind, he said.