For host nation India, this Cricket World Cup has been laden with layers of expectation, pressure and history from the very start.
And their tournament will come full circle on Sunday when it faces Australia in the final, 45 days after they played each other in the tournament’s opening game.
India eased to victory by six wickets in that game and have since dominated its home tournament with 10 consecutive wins, ratcheting up expectations in the cricket-obsessed nation that has waited 12 years for another one-day trophy.
On the other hand, Australia’s tournament spluttered into life following two losses in its opening two matches, against India and South Africa, before it won eight consecutive matches to navigate the group stage and defeat South Africa in the semifinals.
“We want to take on the best. (India) have been the best in the tournament so far,” Australia’s Mitchell Starc said ahead of the final, according to Reuters. “It’s why we play the game.”