The television graphic showed fire was sparkling when a Travis Head shot yielded a six from a pull shot. Obviously the graphics were made up but in reality the effect of Head was perhaps even greater. He not only made himself a legend by playing one of the best innings in a World Cup final but also holding a mesmarising catch to help his side win the championship for the sixth time.
India, who won 10 out of 10 games in the tournament before the final, were overwhelming favourites in front of a 1,30,000 home crowd in Ahmedabad but Head not only compelled them to bow down but all their sparks were dumped. Australia won comprehensively by six wickets.
After losing the toss India lost opener Shubman Gill got out for just four but Rohit Sharma kept blazing as he did throughout the tournament. India seemed really on top as the wicket did not look like a belter but they reached 76-1 in the 10th over.
Just then the moment came. Some said, it was the reincarnation of Kapil Dev, 1983 final. Rohit came down the track against Maxwell but could not time properly. The ball looped in the offside and Head ran over 30 feet backward before leaping to hold a sublime one. India’s danger man gone, Aussies pumped up.
Captain Pat Cummins got rid of Shreyas Iyer in the next over when the batter edged one to keeper Josh Inglis. With the wickets India had to slow down the rate and the tight bowling with spectacular fielding did not help their cause either.
Another big moment arrived in the 29th over when Virat Kohli dragged a short ball to his stumps. Cummins, who was brilliant with field setting and overall captaincy, did the job again. Kohli got out for 54 and India were 148 in the 29th over.
The big wicket somehow made the Aussies even more charged up and it was evident in their fielding through which they dried up the boundaries. K L Rahul tried to keep on the scoring albeit with a slow speed but wickets fell at the other end when Ravindra Jadeja chased a wide delivery of Josh Hazlewood to be caught behind. Rahul saw his side getting past 200 but soon he got out for 66 when he was caught behind off Starc for 66 off 107 with just one boundary. India still had 51 balls but playing them all became a challenge.
Suryakumar Yadav, who played an unconvincing 18-run innings off 28 balls, could not do much as the last recognised batter but somehow India played full 50 overs and lost their last wicket in the last ball when the score was 240.
Chasing the score Australia started briskly as they picked 15 runs off the first over. But Shami, who started with a wide, got rid of David Warner in his first ball. Mitchell Marsh played a couple of shots before getting out for run-a-ball 15 and when Smith was dismissed for four, leg before by Bumrah, Australia were reduced to 47-3 and looked to be shaky.
But the exuberant India could not imagine what was coming. A Head storm and a saint like Labuschagne.
Head kept playing shots and did not give any solace to the bowlers. Just when the bowlers pitched anything short he pulled and the bowlers altered length he found gaps to pick up singles. His partner, on the other hand, was like a rock.
The pair did not give any chance as they kept on scoring. Head scored 15 fours and four sixes. Just when he tried to finish with another one he was caught by Gill off Siraj. Head out for 137 off 120 balls. His contribution could be compared only with Viv Richards 1979 and Aravinda de Silva 1996 final.
Maxwell took the remaining two runs in the first ball he faced and Australia won the match with 42 balls to spare.
After 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015 Australia completed their hexa. Their second in the subcontinent after 1987.
Virat Kohli got the man of the series award, but like billions of Indian fans it was not even a solace in their profound pain.