The 2023 ODI World Cup final is going to see the repeat of the 2003 summit clash. That game at Johannesburg was a one-sided affair as the Ricky Ponting-led Aussies thrashed India by a massive margin of 125 runs to clinch their third World Cup title. There are lessons to be learnt from that heartbreaking loss for India. The Men in Blue have become a better, stronger side since then. In this World Cup, they look like a well-oiled machine. But they still need to be careful and keep some points in mind to avoid that ‘one bad day’ in this tournament. 

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Here are some mistakes India made in 2003 World Cup vs Australia which they should avoid in 2023 World Cup final. 

Winning toss and batting first

At the 2003 World Cup final, India captain Sourav Ganguly won the toss and opted to bat first. That turned out to be a poor decision in the end. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the truth is that it was a wrong call from Ganguly in a match like the World Cup final. In the big knockout cricket matches, it is always advisable to bat first and put on a big score and then defend that. Ganguly’s decision in 2003 could have been motivated by India’s poor show in the league game vs Australia when they had got bundled out for just 125 while batting first. With all due respect to that fine team from 2003, Don’t think this Indian side will enter the final with the same mindset. And will look to play to their strengths.

Removing the Australian openers early

Travis Head and David Warner are very dangerous openers, if not as dangerous as Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj will have to be on the mark from the word go and ball to their strengths. Head and Warner will come after them but they need to still stick to their lines and lengths and not sway away from wicket-taking deliveries. Unlike the Australia of 2003, this Aussie side lacks stability in the middle order and India should look to cash in on that small weakness.

4_ fours
8_ sixes
1_2_1_ balls
1_4_0_ not out

Describe Ricky Ponting’s innings in the 2003 World Cup Final using one word. _

— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) December 19, 2018

Better at the death

Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn had fully enjoyed the erratic death bowling by the likes of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Javagal Srinath in the last ten overs of the game. Bumrah, Shami and Kuldeep should be used to tackle the death overs. Australian powerhitters like Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell may not be as good against Bumrah, Shami and Kuldeep in the overs 40 to 50.

A strong batting powerplay

Looking at the batting lineup of India in the 2003 World Cup final, one feels that they could have chased down the 360-run target if they had planned well. Sachin Tendulkar pulling Glenn McGrath and getting out had broken many hearts. Tendulkar has succumbed to the run-rate pressure, playing a fault shot like that. India needs the same aggression at the start but better shot making and lots of luck when they come out to bat. Rohit, like he has done all this World Cup, must continue to be the aggressor at the start and let Shubman Gill get set and get going later on.

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