After a comfortable win against West Indies in Chennai, India now travel to Motera to face their biggest challenge yet. India takes on Australia in the second quarterfinals to be played in Ahmadabad this Thursday. It’s a mouth watering contest considering the recent rivalry between the two teams. The biggest worry for India would be their recent record against the Aussies in the ODI’s. India has lost 9 out of the last 15 games the two teams have played in India. The Australians also haven’t lost to India in a world cup game since their narrow 1 run victory in 1992 world cup.
So if India manages to win this game they will be breaking a plethora of records. The pressure for sure will be on the men in blue. The Indian performance against the WI followed the familiar pattern, good top order batting, middle and lower order collapse and ordinary effort in the field until Zaheer came back for the second spell. The Indian captain will be still worried about the bowling combination. The one thing that went right for India was the inclusion of Ashwin, as the off-spinner from Chennai gave a good account of himself. Yuvraj’s form also would be heartening for the Indian think tank as he has been a star performer for the men in blue with both bat and ball.
The onus again will be on the batsmen for the Indians. Sehwag will for sure return for the crucial game to join Sachin at the top. Gambhir will drop to number 3 followed by Yuvraj, Kohli and Dhoni in the middle. The batsmen will have to be mindful of the late order collapses and will have to utilize the batting power play better. The Indian bowling though again will rely on Zaheer and Bajji. Ashwin is a welcome addition to the squad and his ability to bowl will the new ball is a great advantage for the team. Munaf might retain his spot as the second seamer.
The Australians though will be really disappointed with their performance against Pakistan. Their batting was seriously exposed against the spinners and India would make sure that they play lot of them. Watson, Haddin and Hussey will be extremely important to Australia’s success with the bat. The Australians will also be hoping that their captain Ricky Ponting rediscovers his form to lend solidity to their fragile middle order. Their bowling will rely on pace as I don’t see Krezja troubling Indian batsmen too much. Lee will be extremely crucial for Australia, if they have to keep the Indian top order in check. Johnson and Tait are extremely inconsistent and you never know how which side of them will turn up on a particular day.
The pitch will be the extremely crucial and since both the games played on this venue involved Zimbabwe, the true nature cannot be gauged. It seems little hard to bat on judging by Australia’s struggle to reach 262 against Zimbabwe in their first game. India haven’t had a great time at Motera in the past as they have won 5 and lost 7 in the 12 games they have played. Toss seems extremely crucial as teams winning the toss and batting first have won 8 times out of 12, bowling first have won it 5 times out of 8. Teams winning the toss have distinct advantage at Motera. So toss will be extremely crucial for the Thursday’s game.
All in all this will be a brilliant game for the cricket fans across the world. It will be battle between India’s spin Vs Australia’s pace. Whoever wins that battle will win the contest. Let’s hope we have a great game of cricket.