'Going to be loud': Australia's Mitchell Starc
Kolkata (AFP) - Australia’s Mitchell Starc believes Sunday’s World Cup final against India at Ahmedabad’s 130,000-capacity stadium will be “loud and a spectacle of cricket”.
Five-time champions Australia edged out South Africa by three wickets in a tense chase of 213 in Kolkata on Thursday to make their eighth World Cup final.
“It’s a big occasion, it’s a World Cup final,” Starc, who returned figures of 3-34 to help bowl out South Africa for 212, told reporters.
“Guys in both changing rooms have been there before at different formats. Both teams played each other in the (World Test Championship) Final earlier in the year. I don’t think either changing room is new to big occasions.
“It’s going to be loud. No doubt there’s going to be different amounts of pressure at different times on both teams. I think it’s just going to be a great spectacle of cricket.”
Rohit Sharma’s India have a perfect 10 wins from 10 games at this World Cup after seeing off New Zealand by 70 runs in the first semi-final on Wednesday.
They are firm favourites to lift the trophy for a third time and second at home after 2011.
“They’ve been the best in the tournament so far and we both find ourselves in the finals,” said Starc of the match-up.
“That’s what World Cups are about. We played them in our first game of the tournament, now we get to take them on in the last. What a place to be at the end of a World Cup.”
Australia started the tournament with losses to India and then South Africa before they won seven straight league matches to storm into the final-four.
Against India, they lost by six wickets in Chennai after being bowled out for 199, and then slumped to a 134-run defeat to the Proteas in Lucknow.
- ‘Don’t care’ -
Australia last won the World Cup in 2015 but kept adding to their trophy cabinet after they clinched the T20 World Cup in 2021.
They were crowned Test champions in June this year when they defeated India by 209 runs at The Oval.
Australian batsmen had a tough day in Kolkata after they slipped to 137-5 following a 62 by Travis Head, whose departure triggered a collapse as South African spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi attempted to take control.
But Steve Smith (30), Josh Linglis (28), Starc (16 not out) and Pat Cummins (14 not out) guided the team home with 16 balls to spare.
On Sunday, Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja will be a threat to the Australian batsmen in Ahmedabad.
“I guess we’ll find out when we get to Ahmedabad tomorrow and see if it’s a fresh wicket or an old wicket,” Starc said tongue-in-cheek after reports accused India of switching pitches for their semi-final win over New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Despite the anticipation ahead of Sunday’s final after six weeks of action across India, not everybody is excited.
“To be honest, there’s about a 1% chance I’ll be watching. And to be even more brutally honest, I actually don’t care,” said South Africa coach Rob Walter.