KOLKATA, India: Australia’s Mitchell Starc anticipates a vibrant showdown in Sunday’s World Cup final against India at Ahmedabad’s 130,000-capacity stadium, expecting a discord that celebrates the essence of cricket.
The five-time champions sealed their place in the final with a nail-biting three-wicket victory over South Africa in Kolkata, chasing down 213 runs. Starc, who played a pivotal role with figures of 3-34, shared his excitement, acknowledging the significance of the moment. “It’s a big occasion, it’s a World Cup final,” Starc remarked to reporters.
Reflecting on the looming clash, Starc highlighted the familiarity both teams possess with high-stakes games, having encountered each other previously in the World Test Championship. “Both changing rooms have been there before at different formats… I don’t think either changing room is new to big occasions,” he said, emphasizing the anticipated atmosphere and pressure that will add to the spectacle of cricket.
India, led by Rohit Sharma, entered the final unbeaten in the tournament, securing their spot after a commanding victory over New Zealand in the semi-finals. Starc acknowledged India’s dominance, labelling them as the best team in the tournament so far, setting the stage for an exciting culmination to the World Cup. “That’s what World Cups are about,” Starc remarked, embracing the challenge of facing India in the pinnacle match.
Australia’s journey in the tournament has been a rollercoaster, starting with initial losses against India and South Africa before staging a remarkable comeback with seven consecutive wins to reach the final stages.
Starc reminisced about their earlier encounters with India in the tournament, recognizing the opportunity to face them again in the ultimate showdown. The left-arm pacer highlighted Australia’s success in various formats, showcasing their championship pedigree with recent triumphs in T20 and Test cricket.
Looking ahead to the final, Starc acknowledged the potential threat posed by India’s spin duo, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja. However, he maintained a light-hearted tone when addressing the speculation surrounding the pitch conditions, subtly referencing the reports of India’s alleged pitch manipulation in the semi-finals.
Despite the heightened anticipation surrounding the final after weeks of intense cricket across India, not everyone shares the same enthusiasm. South Africa coach Rob Walter candidly expressed his disinterest, stating his unlikelihood of watching the final.
The anticipation for the clash between two cricketing giants in the World Cup final continues to build, promising a thrilling spectacle that echoes the essence of the sport on a grand stage.