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'This is not the 1990s..' - Gautam Gambhir lashes out KL Rahul for his slow innings at final of ODI World Cup 2023

Hosts India entered the ODI WC 2023 final match as favorites, having won every game in the tournament and facing minimal challenges from any team, including Australia in their opening encounter.

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Mathew K
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KL Rahul and Gautam Gambhir (Source: Twitter)

India's aspirations for securing a third World Cup title were shattered on Sunday as they suffered a six-wicket defeat to Australia in the final. Hosts India entered the match as favorites, having won every game in the tournament and facing minimal challenges from any team, including Australia in their opening encounter. Despite Australia losing the first match by six wickets, they managed to reverse that result against India in the final.

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In their previous four games before the final, India had surpassed the 350-run mark in three matches, with the exception being against South Africa, where they scored 326 and won by a significant margin of 243 runs. However, in the final, the Men In Blue was restricted to 240 runs in 50 overs, and the Aussies successfully chased down the target in 43 overs. Despite scoring 80 runs in the first 10 overs, the Asian side managed only four fours and no sixes for the remainder of their innings. The former batter Gautam Gambhir suggested that it would have been beneficial for India to attempt more boundaries, with someone taking more risks in the middle overs.

“It's a double-edged sword. But I have always said this, the most courageous team will go on to win the World Cup. I can understand that you need time to build a partnership but 11 to 40 overs is a very, very long time. Someone should have taken that risk,” Gambhir told Sportskeeda.

You need 300-plus totals:  Gautam Gambhir

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KL Rahul and Virat Kohli formed a fourth-wicket partnership, playing 109 balls but managing only 67 runs. Despite the former maintaining a decent strike rate without many boundaries, the scoring became more challenging after his dismissal at 54 off 63. The former left-handed batter, Gambhir observed that Kohli had been entrusted with the role of anchoring the innings, a responsibility he had fulfilled effectively throughout the tournament. Therefore, Gambhir suggested that other batsmen should have aimed to play more aggressively around him. Unfortunately, Rahul contributed only 66 runs off 107 balls.

“Kohli has played a role of anchoring the innings, but the rest all should have been aggressive. KL should have gone. What harm would it have caused? We would have been 150 all out. But had we been brave, we could scored 310 and India would have been world champions. This is not the 1990s. 240 is not a good score at all. You need 300-plus totals. India were not brave enough,” said Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir KL Rahul ODI World Cup ODI World Cup 2023