Ahmedabad: Australia’s middle-order batter Marnus Labuschagne said his mindset while batting alongside Travis Head during their successful chase of 241 in the Men’s ODI World Cup final against India was to bat as if it was a Test match.
Australia were 47/3 at the end of seven overs, and Labuschagne played the second fiddle to perfection in the 192-run partnership with Head, who struck a superb 120-ball 137. Eventually Labuschagne made an unbeaten 58 off 110 balls, laced with four boundaries, to take Australia to their sixth World Cup title.
“I was quite nervous when I was waiting to bat. But when you get on the field, nothing really changes. You’re watching the ball, and you just try and get in the zone, trying to focus, the noise sort of gets blocked out, it gets into the periphery, but it was loud. There was a bit of pressure there, but it was good.”
“My mindset was you treat it like a Test match. When you’re batting with Travis Head, there’s usually no run-rate pressure. When you’re chasing a lower total like 230 (241), unless you’re really struggling, there’s not going to be much run-rate pressure. It was just about being nice and positive.”
“But also lock-in like I would if I was playing a Test match, just making sure I was defending the ball well and when they bowled a bad ball, score off that. Just make sure you’re building a partnership with your partner out there,” Labuschagne was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
It was a surreal World Cup ride from Labuschagne, who wasn’t in Australia’s provisional World Cup squad and wasn’t even on a tour of South Africa. He was quickly summoned to South Africa as a batting cover for Steven Smith’s wrist injury and then came in as a concussion sub for Cameron Green in the first ODI at Bloemfontein, to be 80 not out and seal a tense three-wicket win.
A calf injury to Ashton Agar meant Labuschagne was a last-minute addition to the World Cup squad and made crucial contributions in various stages of the tournament which culminated in a sixth World Cup title for Australia.
“It’s hard for me not to believe in miracles. There’s someone above putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I think unofficially I was dropped five times. I wasn’t in the squad in South Africa, someone got concussed, I got an opportunity, got some runs and pushed my case.”
“Then I got on the squad, and played 19 games in a row, since the first South Africa match. I’m very thankful to the coaches and selectors for sticking by me. There are some really good players. Marcus Stoinis missed out this game, and he’s a phenomenal player. I’m just very thankful they stuck by me and I lucked out,” added Labuschagne.
He signed off by saying keeping the crowd influence out of his partnership with Head also proved to be key. “The sound of silence is a great sound in India because it means you’re on top.”
“When me and Travis were batting, we were discussing about making sure we got them here, everything’s quiet, just keep playing. We played two different styles, he played an unbelievable innings, but it was about keeping engaged every ball, play every ball on merit and keep the crowd out of it.”