One game from immortality. A nation expects as India take on Australia in a final like no other

For hosts India, this Cricket World Cup has been fraught with layers of expectations, pressure and history from the very beginning.

And their tournament will come full circle on Sunday when they face Australia in the final, 45 days after they played each other in the opening match of the tournament.

India cruised to victory by six wickets in that match and have since dominated their home tournament with 10 straight victories, raising expectations in the cricket-obsessed country that has waited 12 years for another one-day trophy.

On the other hand, the Australian tournament came alive after two defeats in the first two matches, against India and South Africa, before winning eight consecutive matches to navigate through the group stage and beat South Africa in the semi-finals.

“We want to hire the best. (India) have been the best in the tournament so far,” Australian Mitchell Starc said ahead of the final, according to Reuters. “That’s why we play the game.”

Cricket occupies a specific and special place within India’s collective consciousness as a national sport, shedding its associations with British colonialism and being seen as a symbol of the country’s future.

“As an Indian cricketer you have to deal with pressure,” captain Rohit Sharma told reporters on Saturday.

The 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will be packed on Sunday, with almost every fan in attendance expecting nothing less than an India victory.

“The crowd will obviously be very one-sided, but in sport there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a large crowd go silent and that is the goal for us,” Australian captain Pat Cummins told reporters on Saturday, according to the ICC.

“You just have to embrace every part of a final… you know there’s going to be a lot of noise, more people and interest in the lead-up, and you just can’t get overwhelmed.”

Conceived by coach Rahul Dravid, the Indian team has become a well-drilled, balanced unit, with a top five batting line-up that has contributed to a combined average of 71.66 runs and an impressive pace attack alongside Kuldeep Yadav’s spin bowling and Ravindra. Jadeja.

And at the heart of the team is, of course, Virat Kohli, whose record-breaking performances have further cemented his position as India’s talisman.

He hit a record 50th ODI century against New Zealand in the semi-finals, eclipsing Sachin Tendulkar’s previous mark, and has become the highest-scoring batsman at a single World Cup tournament for Gentlemen.

Australia’s route to the final has also produced bright moments, most notably Glenn Maxwell’s remarkable innings of 201 not out from 128 balls to secure his team’s place in the knockout stages when defeat to Afghanistan seemed all but assured.

In the US, the match will be broadcast on WillowTV and also available via the ESPN+ app. Fans in India can watch on Star Sports Network, while fans in Australia can tune in on Fox Sports and Kayo.

A full list of broadcasters around the world can be found here.