« Back to articlePrint this article

'Dharamsala not easiest of fielding grounds, but...'

October 28, 2023 21:02 IST

Captain Pat Cummins celebrates with his Australia teammates after a tense victory over New Zealand in the ICC World Cup match in Dharamsala on Sunday.

IMAGE: Captain Pat Cummins celebrates with his Australia teammates after a tense victory over New Zealand in the ICC World Cup match in Dharamsala on Saturday. Photograph: ICC/X

On the eve of their World Cup match against New Zealand, at a venue whose outfield is in focus, Australian skipper Pat Cummins expressed hope that his teammates would be cautious while fielding.

But as their Trans-Tasman rivals closed in on an imposing target of 389 in Dharamsala on Saturday, the Australians, especially Marnus Labuschagne in the last over, fielded as if life depended on it.


On the day though Cummins would have been pleased to see his teammates diving around, for without their effort in the field the Australians wouldn't have prevailed by five runs in the cliffhanger and continued their winning run in the tournament.

"Fielding made a big difference. Marnus out there, throwing himself around at the end. Not the easiest fielding grounds here but the boys threw themselves around," Cummins said at the presentation ceremony.

In the last couple of weeks, Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott and England skipper Jos Buttler had expressed concern with the outfield in Dharamsala.

Meanwhile, Cummins added, "We have a few days' break. Will enjoy this one and then get stuck in."

Travis Head's blazing hundred laid the ground for the thrilling victory.

On the game in general, Cummins said, "That was awesome. Sometimes I have to remember I was on the field. They kept coming at us. It was fantastic."

Asked about the opening partnership between World Cup debutant Head and in-form David Warner, Australia’s captain said, "I loved that, especially from Trav, who has been away. That is how we want to play, take the game on and they led the way."

Speaking about the bowling, Cummins said, "It was a good wicket. I thought, in patches, we bowled really well. Other times, we gave too much width away. Some really good partnerships that were tough to get into."

New Zealand needed 19 off the final over but fell short in the end of a terrific game which saw James Neesham nearly puling off a heist of sorts after Ravindra's effort.

"Fantastic game of cricket. Ebbs and flows throughout. To come so close, obviously it hurts. They played fantastically well and put us on the back foot from the start," the Kiwis captain Tom Latham said.

New Zealand's Glenn Phillips did an admirable job with the ball, ending with figures of 3/37 as his colleagues were taken to the cleaners, and Latham was full of praise for him.

"He bowled fantastically to come and bowl 10 overs for 30 and take three wickets, at crucial times. To bowl his full 10 from one end was great and his work is paying off," said Latham.

Asked about the run-chase, he said, "When you are chasing close to 400, you have to play the perfect game. Young and Dev (Conway) got us off to a good start. Rachin played an extraordinary knock - one of the better knocks you will see."

Player of the Match Head said he barely practised heading into this game.

"Nice to be back, nice to be contributing. Very close (game) in the end. Was a hell of a game.

"Only had a couple of hits. Little bit like the WTC, where I had a few weeks off. Have a few bruises that I can definitely strap up over the next couple of days," Head said.

© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.