The Champions trophy has reached its most important phase where teams battle for the semifinal spot. The favorites have been knocked off and the subcontinent teams have faltered to leave an impression on this tournament. Srilanka and Pakistan have already been knocked out, and India still have a mamoth task of beating Australia to grab the final spot for the semis.
This tournament has been a dissapointment in terms of good tough matches. The only matches which come to mind are Aus V WI, SL V Pak and Ind V WI(Only at the end) as the rest of them have been one sided affairs. The batsmen have struggled and bowlers have enjoyed the conditions, pretty rare on Indian pitches.
With three spots for the semifinal already decided, the India V Australia match seems to an interesting contest. Both the team have had problems with their batting with their bowlers doing a reasonable job. This is the first time I feel in an Ind V Aus encounter that both teams have an equal chance as Australia have been vulnareble with their batting in the last couple of tournaments. It was kind of dissapointing to see the Indian batters struggle once again against the WI.
The Indian batting has struggled since the WI series where they lost 4-1 after having a great run in one-day cricket prior to that. The Indians would be hoping that their most experianced players like Sachin, Rahul and Sehwag would step up to the occasion and deliver the goods on the most important game for India in the last few months.The Indian bowling was a mixed bag against WI with Irfan Pathan leaking lot of runs at the start(may be psychological, playing WI).
I am still unable to get the selection of RP Singh over Sreesanth as the former has not been able to deliver in the last 3 or 4 tournaments. Sreesanth was Indias best bowler in WI and bowled beautifully in the only match he played in the DLF cup. India should realize that we should make use of players who are in form rather than just playing people who they want to succeed. This tournament would be a big confidence booster for India as they visit SA right after this tournament.
Australia on the other hand came to India as the favorites as is the case in most of the tournaments they are involved in. They have had pretty rough time in the champions trophies prior to this and have not reached the finals even once in the previous tournaments. If I know Australia they would want to set the record straight.
I hope that this match provides a great contest and not a one-sided affair like the other matches in the tournament.