NO LEFTIE, NO PROBLEM
If India win, they will emulate their own feat of winning the World Cup without a left-handed batsman in the top 6 (in the XI). They had done the same in 1983. Since then, all World Cup-winning teams have had at least one left-handed batter in the top 6 – Australia 1987 (Allan Border), Pakistan 1992 (Aamer Sohail), Sri Lanka 1996 (Sanath Jayasuriya, Asanka Gurusinha, Arjuna Ranatunga), Australia 1999 (Adam Gilchrist, Darren Lehmann, Michael Bevan), Australia 2003 (Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden, Lehmann, Bevan), Australia 2007 (Gilchrist, Hayden, Mike Hussey), India 2011 (Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh), Australia 2015 (David Warner), England 2019 (Eion Morgan, Ben Stokes).Even before 1983, the winners (West Indies in 1975 and 1979) had left-handers Roy Fredericks, Alvin Kalicharran, Clive Lloyd in their team. This time, Australia have two left-handed batters at the top:David Warner and Travis Head. In 2003 and 2007, they also had two such openers in Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.
CAN OZ END INDIA’S WIN STREAK?
India had ended Australia’s winning streak of 16 Tests in Kolkata in 2001. They had also ended their World Cup-winning stranglehold from 1999 in Ahmedabad to the quarterfinals of the 2011 edition. Now, the Aussies have a chance to end India’s 10-match winning streak in the World Cup.
HOSTS WITH THE MOST
Till 1996, no host had won the World Cup. Sri Lanka did it as co-host (the final was not at home). But if India win it on Sunday, it will be a case of fourth successive triumph by the hosts (2011 India, 2015 Australia, 2019 England) – an unprecedented feat.
KULDEEP’S TIME TO HOG THE LIMELIGHT
If India win the World Cup, Kuldeep Yadav will become only the second-ever ‘chinaman’ bowler – a left-arm wrist spinner – to be part of a champion side. He will follow Australia’s Brad Hogg (2003, 2007). India, in fact, have two specialist left-arm spinners in Kuldeep and Jadeja, a first among World Cup finalists. The Aussies had Brag Hogg and Darren Lehmann, but the latter was a part-timer. In India’s previous two title-winning teams, there was no leg-spinner in 1983 in the final playing XI, just the part-time off-spin of Kirti Azad. In 2011, there was a specialist leggie in Piyush Chawla in the squad, and two specialist offies in Ashwin and Harbhajan, but only Harbhajan was in the XI for the final. This time, Ashwin has played just one group game, against the Aussies in Chennai.
SPECIALIST ‘KEEPERS A RARITY
Specialist keepers have also been a part of Cup-winning teams, like Brad Haddin in 2015, but since 1996, he is the only one. Compatriot Josh Inglis gets a chance to emulate him this time. However, in KL Rahul (batter-keeper), India have an ace up their sleeve. Just think Jos Buttler (England, 2019), MS Dhoni (India, 2011), Adam Gilchrist (Australia, 2007, 2003 and 1999) and Romesh Kaluwitharana (Sri Lanka, 1996).