With up to 130,000 fans in the stands, the world’s number one against the record champion: the Cricket World Cup in India ends with a spectacular spectacle – and an entire nation anticipating the coronation of its idols. On Sunday, India will look to end their twelve-year drought and win their third title after 1983 and 2011 against Australia at the grand temple of cricket in Ahmedabad.
“It’s going to be an incredible game,” former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who won the 1983 World Cup, told India Today TV. The game will be a “real challenge”, but the Indian team around captain Rohit Sharma and star player Virat Kohli, who is respected in his homeland and has one of the highest paid sportsmen in the country.
In the group stage six weeks ago, India had a narrow lead against five-time champions Australia, and the hosts are still unbeaten. But Australia, who lost their second series against South Africa after their opening defeat against India, have bounced back nicely since then with eight wins in a row – and head into the long-term battle with the wind.
However, the record world champion knows the difficulty of the task. They expect a “quality team” with “no real weaknesses”, said Australia’s Josh Hazlewood, which has “been on the upswing throughout the tournament” – and have plenty of fans behind them, whether they are at the stadium or in the millions in the metropolis. Mumbai and Delhi and Kolkata.
Cricket, which will be part of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028 for the first time since 1900, is to India what football is to Germany: the number one popular sport. 1.4 billion people, including hundreds of millions of eager fans, are waiting for an autumn fairy tale with a perfect winner. India is the first country since 1979 to host the 10-team tournament on its own.
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