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Australia's World Cup triumph the pinnacle: Cummins

Travis Head's superb knock has guided Australia to a sixth World Cup title, an achievement captain Pat Cummins hailed as the pinnacle of international cricket.


Australian players celebrate with the trophy after winning against India during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final match in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday. Image AAP

Pat Cummins has declared Australia's sixth World Cup title "the pinnacle of international cricket" after Travis Head's batting masterclass sealed a six-wicket victory over hosts India in the final.


Chasing 241 for victory in Ahmedabad on Sunday (Monday AEDT), Head hit 137 to take Australia from early trouble to a comfortable win with seven overs to spare.


His runs came as part of a 192-run fourth-wicket stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who struck a controlled 58 off 110 by turning the strike over and letting Head star.


Together the pair helped silence a rocking Narendra Modi Stadium, after the previously-unbeaten hosts had Australia 3-47.


But just when it appeared Australia could collapse after Steve Smith failed to review his lbw when a Jasprit Bumrah ball hit him outside off stump, Head and Labuschagne kept their composure.


They were able to wrestle back control of the match by regularly finding singles, never being tied down by the spinners while barely taking any risks.


Getting desperate, India brought back Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in the 24th and 28th overs.


Both times Head responded by hitting the first deliveries of their spells to the boundary, taking the sting out of the situation.


The left-hander brought up his hundred off 95 balls, and swatted away short balls at will when targeted by India's quicks.


He also slog-swept spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yavav for sixes, hitting four in total as well as 15 fours.


Head was eventually caught on the boundary with two runs required, allowing Glenn Maxwell to slog the winning runs off his first ball.


In a year when Australia have retained the Ashes in England and beaten India in the World Test Championship final, they now have a second global crown.


But captain Cummins believed the latest triumph outdid all others.


"That's the pinnacle of international cricket, winning a one-day World Cup, especially over here in India, in front of a crowd like this," he said.


"It's been a big year for everyone but our cricket team has been here in India, Ashes, World Test Championship and to top it off with this is just huge.


"These are the moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life."


Australia's 1987 and 1999 triumphs are widely considered the most remarkable of their World Cup wins, for the fight shown to take the prize.


But this campaign should be considered as close to their equal.


Australia were soundly beaten by India and South Africa in the opening week, and axed wicketkeeper Alex Carey after one game.


Selectors made the call to keep Head in the squad despite him nursing a fractured hand back home, while Labuschagne was only brought into the group after Ashton Agar's calf injury.


Coaches were unable to pick their first-choice XI until the semi-final, by which point Australia had won seven straight games to qualify.


Then in the final, they were forced to play on a slow, previously-used wicket in a sold-out 132,000-seat stadium packed with India fans.


Despite it all, they thoroughly outplayed the heavy favourites.


"This is bigger than (the last triumph in) 2015. We won that at home in front of our home fans," seamer Josh Hazlewood, who took 2-60, said. 


"But the challenges we've been through the last couple of months, coming here, playing in these conditions against India, who are a pretty special team. 


"Getting the win on a day like this is amazing."


Cummins' captaincy was superb, making the bold call to bowl after winning the toss and banking on batting with the dew at night.


"We were kind of 'umming' and 'ahhing' right up until the toss, really," Cummins said.


"In a World Cup game you can make a mistake bowling and it doesn't really matter too much, but if you make a mistake batting and you're under pressure, it can be fatal."


Cummins got his fields right, regularly changed bowlers at the right time and pegged India back after they were 2-80 following the first 10 overs.


From then on, the hosts only hit four more boundaries.


The captain also took 2-34, becoming the first quick in the tournament to bowl 10 boundary-free overs, while bowling Virat Kohli for 54 in the process.


Australia's fielding was also far superior, headlined by a Head catch running back at point to change the match when he removed opener Rohit Sharma for 47 off 31 balls off Maxwell's bowling.


Mitchell Starc also removed Shubman Gill early and KL Rahul (66) late to finish with 3-55 as India were bowled out on the last ball of the innings.


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