New Delhi, Nov 23: Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lauded Australia's victory in the ODI World Cup final against India, attributing the Baggy Greens' record-extending sixth title to their exceptional tactical prowess showcased in the summit clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. After a loss in the first two games of the league stage, Australia went on to win eight consecutive games to reach the finals against India, which they won by six wickets, thanks to Travis Head's masterclass inning of 137 runs. David Warner Says, 'You Need to Perform when It Matters' After Mohammad Kaif Calls 'India Best Team on Paper'.

Ashwin was highly impressed with Pat Cummins's "tactical masterclass" in the finals as Cummins went on to take two key wickets of Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli. "Final was a tactical masterclass by Cummins, he had a 4-5 fielding setup, similar to an off-spinner, hitting stump line - he bowled only 3 balls in the 6 meter mark towards the stump line as not allowing batters to drive - he bowled all-overs without mid-off, a masterclass,” said Ashwin on his YouTube channel.

Ashwin also anticipated Australia to stick to tradition and bat first, but they surprised everyone with their decision. He noted that Australia's choice at the toss was rooted in analyzing the pitch's black soil, which tends to favor batting in the evening.

“Let me make it clear, Australia did not win because of destiny or luck. They were tactically outstanding in the final. I watched their performance in the final with absolute fascination. Australia and Pat Cummins deceived me. I thought Australia would bat first if they win the toss because, historically, it’s an Aussie thing to ‘win the toss and bat’. The wicket used for the final was not Ahmedabad soil, it was rather from Odisha. It was the kind of wicket that would not disintegrate too much," said Ashwin.

After being asked to bat first India managed to put up a below-par score of 240 runs as Australian bowlers were well on top with tight lines and well-accurate line length outside the off.

The Australian pace trio went on to take seven wickets, three to Mitchell Starc and two wickets apiece for Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Glenn Maxwell brought into the powerplay managed to get the key wicket of Rohit Sharma, who yet again gave a thrilling start to India.

Ashwin also recalled his chat with Australia's Chief Selector George Baily after the match and said: "I had a chat with George Bailey during the mid innings, I asked him why didn't you guys bat first like you always do - he answered back, we have played IPL & Bilateral series here a lot - red soil disintegrates but not black soil & it gets better under lights - no impact on dew on red soil but black soil has good turn in afternoon & then it will be a concrete in night - this is our experience,” said Ashwin.

The spin-bowling all-rounder further said that he never thought that his World Cup journey would end with him playing just one match. Ashwin played the India's first league game against Australia at his home ground - the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, claiming one wicket for 34 runs in his allotted ten overs quota. 'Muskuraiye, Desh Aapko Dekh Raha Hai...' PM Narendra Modi Consoles Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Other Indian Cricket Team Members Following World Cup 2023 Final Defeat Against Australia (Watch Video).

"Never thought that my run at the World Cup would end after playing one match in Chennai, because I was bowling with good rhythm. My return was supposed to come against New Zealand at Dharamsala, Hardik had a heartbreaking injury. Hardik Pandya was an important figure because we did not have an all-rounder to replace him," Ashwin said.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 23, 2023 04:15 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website