A World Cup that commenced with uncertainties regarding the future of 50-over one-day internationals concludes with lingering doubts about their significance beyond the grandeur of a major tournament. Australia’s decisive six-wicket triumph over India in front of a massive 92,000-strong crowd at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium might have left
home and neutral fans craving a more evenly contested final. However, the tournament’s earlier thrilling clashes, including Afghanistan’s stunning victory over defending champions England by 69 runs and non-Test nation the Netherlands defeating eventual semi-finalists South Africa, provided lasting memories.
One of the notable aspects of ODIs is their ability to facilitate epic comebacks reminiscent of Test matches while delivering results within a single day. Although the high-paced, smash-and-grab nature of Twenty20 cricket has gained financial prominence through events like the Indian Premier League, it seldom matches the dramatic narratives found in the longer formats of the game.
A striking example from this World Cup was Australia’s remarkable pool play victory over Afghanistan. Faced with a challenging target of 292 and teetering at 91-7, Glenn Maxwell’s extraordinary double century secured a miraculous three-wicket win, leaving a lasting impact on fast bowler Pat Cummins.
After leading Australia to a record-extending sixth World Cup title, Cummins expressed mixed emotions and admitted to rediscovering his love for ODIs during the tournament. Reflecting on the unique intensity of World Cup matches, he noted that the scenario where every game truly matters sets them apart from bilateral ODIs.
Australia faced a momentary challenge at 47-3 before Travis Head’s brilliant 137 and his partnership with Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out) guided them to victory with seven overs to spare. Cummins highlighted the rich history of the World Cup, expressing confidence in its continued existence, with the next edition slated for 2027 in southern Africa.
However, the debate surrounding the fate of ODIs between World Cups remains unresolved. The incoming MCC president, Mark Nicholas, advocated for scrapping all ODIs between tournaments, emphasizing the overwhelming influence of T20
cricket in the current landscape. Despite this perspective, the question remains: without bilateral ODIs, how will teams like Afghanistan and the Netherlands maintain and improve their standards in 50-over cricket between major tournaments like the World Cup and the Champions Trophy?
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