Looking back at key moments and real heroes from the ICC 2023 World Cup!
By Paula Dsouza
The final showdown of the ICC 2023 World Cup left a lot of broken hearts in its wake, however, as they say, perspective matters and Team India won something so much larger than a trophy that day. When you have the support of billions of people, when there’s nothing but blue in the stands, when there are 5.1 core people who have come together for one single purpose, and that purpose is you, you know you’ve won. So sure, India may not have won the World Cup, but they’ve solidified that India as a country can come together for something they believe in; and where there’s a shared passionate belief, there’s fortified community and that is something to be proud of.
Australia took home the cup but Team India gave its fans a tournament full of exciting moments, breaking records by losing not a single league match and showcasing unparalleled talent and determination. And they weren’t alone, every team stepped up their game as they battled it out, leaving everything on the pitch, taking their fans through a rollercoaster of emotions with every game.
The 2023 Version
This year’s World Cup was hosted by India for the fifth time, the first being in 1987 and the second in 2011 when India won their first cup on home soil. The round-robin format this year saw every team play each other in turn, which led to multiple predicted wins but many more shocking losses.
Early Glory For NZ
In a sensational display of skill and prowess, Rachin Ravindra orchestrated a swift and commanding century, while also taking a wicket, propelling New Zealand to a resounding 9-wicket victory over England in the inaugural match of the World Cup! The emergence of this prodigious talent, with Indian roots, proved to be nothing short of a revelation for the Kiwi squad, as Ravindra continued to showcase an impressive record that boasted three centuries and two half-centuries in the tournament. His stellar performances undoubtedly positioned him as a key player, leaving an indelible mark on the global cricket stage! “It’s a pretty surreal feeling. Grateful for the support, especially playing in Bangalore where my extended family resides. The crowd chanting my name is something I will never take for granted. Once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing you dream of as a kid,”he said in an interview.
The Final Few
The final four teams that would have to battle it out came down to Afghanistan, India, New Zealand and Australia. These four teams gave it their all until India and Australia emerged victors and were slated to face off against each other for the ultimate glory.
Held in none other than one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world – the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, this final showdown had every Indian on the edge of their seat. The opening ceremony included a 10-minute musical IAF air show piloted by the 52nd Squadron of the Indian Air Force. A laser show and musical performance took the field by storm mid-innings, and it closed with a drone show creating the first-ever aerial champions board!
The final started on a tense note when Australia won the toss, deciding to bowl first. Little did the excited audience know that a dewy pitch would be the night’s biggest advantage. India fought a great fight. With a great captaincy from Pat Cummins, Australia truly played a game visibly brilliant with impeccable bowling and fielding. Australian opener Travis Head smashed a magnificent century to fashion their six-wicket victory against India. This made Head the third Australian after Ricky Ponting’s 140 in 2003 and Adam Gilchrist’s 149 in 2007 to score a century in a World Cup final!
Quite the fairytale for the GOAT of cricket, none other than Virat Kohli who equalled his idol Sachin Tendulkar’s world record for the most centuries hit in a World Cup (49 centuries) on his 35th birthday in Mumbai. It truly is the making of a fairytale for Kohli as he celebrated the win with a crowd of thousands during the match against South Africa. “It’s difficult to explain but if I could paint the perfect picture, I would want this to be the picture: My partner, the person I love the most, is sitting there, my hero [Tendulkar] is sitting there. To get to 50 hundreds in front of them and the fans at this historic venue was amazing,” said Kohli.
The fairytale didn’t just end there; Kohli soon found himself breaking his idol’s record to become the official record holder for the most number of centuries in World Cup history. Sachin Tendulkar later stated, “Virat Kohli has not just scored his 50th ODI century, but has also exemplified the spirit of excellence and perseverance that defines the best of sportsmanship. This remarkable milestone is a testament to his enduring dedication and exceptional talent. I extend heartfelt congratulations to him.”
Another Wicket For Shami
Another player who showcased a remarkable performance during the tournament was none other than the bowler Mohammed Shami who became the highest wicket-taker in the 2023 ICC World Cup. In the semi-final match against New Zealand, a team that played with ample amounts of surprising promise, Shami took a whooping 7 wicket haul, giving 57 runs in 9.5 overs! “Not rocket science. Just a matter of rhythm, good food, keep your mind uncluttered, and, most importantly, the love of the people,” said Shami.
This World Cup, however, was missing one of its vital contributors who tragically and to everyone’s shock didn’t even make it to the World Cup – West Indies. After consecutively losing matches to Zimbabwe, Netherlands and Scotland, the team was out of the tournament before it even began, marking yet another first in cricket history.
Moreover, an incredibly talented team like England, the defending champions, suffered a truly tragic fate, getting knocked out of the tournament after losing five matches in a row. The World Cup was anything but predictable, that’s for certain.
Speaking about unpredictability, Sri Lankan batsman Angelo Mathews was controversially ‘Timed Out’ against Bangladesh on November 6, 2023, for taking more than two minutes to take the crease. He took to X later to say, “I mean safety is paramount as I just couldn’t face the bowler without a helmet.” He addedthat he had 5 seconds left and there was video proof of it, urging the umpire to rectify his decision; however, it sadly stuck, leading to a disappointing ending for the Sri Lankan!
The Australian Prodigy
It wasn’t just India who showcased their exemplary talent at the World Cup. Glen Maxwell is a name that carries quite the precedence with it. ‘The greatest One Day International (ODI) innings of all time’ most have called it. Even former cricketer Ricky Ponting, who was commentating, was at a loss for words when it came to talking about what Maxwell single-handedly achieved. Not many get to witness a player create art in the way Maxwell has. A double century the world will be talking about for a very, very long time, the 35-year-old Australian cricketer made history that night and it was miraculous to watch.
2027, Here We Come!
There’s plenty of cricket to be played and watched, as well as trophies to be won in the coming months, but all eyes are now set on 2027. The ICC World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the cricket sphere, where the best squads in the world battle it out to be named the best in the world. So we eagerly wait to see which teams will qualify, which familiar faces will wow us once again, and which new ones will bowl us over with a surprising show of skill. All we know for now is that there is more to come… and we can’t wait!
- Defending champs England lost their first match.
- Virat Kohli surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s world record for the most centuries hit in a World Cup.
- Mohammed Shami became the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
- Glen Maxwell scored a double century against Afghanistan, the first in a chase.
- Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathew got timed out.
- West Indies didn’t qualify for the World Cup.