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Cricket World Cup: Australia v India – SF 2 Preview

The current Australian stranglehold over the Indians is nothing new, especially in home conditions.  Plenty of touring teams have come to Australia full of expectation only to be humbled by the pace and bounce of the likes of the WACA and the GABBA.  India’s 2014/15 tour has been no different.  They have failed to beat Australia in any format.

However, if there’s one leveller, it’s a Cricket World Cup semifinal.  If there’s another, it’s the Sydney Cricket Ground; traditionally slower than other venues and often taking turn.  Such a pitch would suit India’s game immeasurably more than anywhere else in Australia.  India’s Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja could thrive in the Sydney conditions and help balance a game that is otherwise largely in Australia’s favour.

Australia do not possess a quality spin bowler and have given Xavier Doherty just a solitary game.  Therein lies the only shortcoming for Australia and the only opportunity for India.

The Last Time These Two Met

Australia have got the better of India all summer.  The Aussies enjoyed dominance in a 2-0 test match series win, before lifting the Carlton Mid Tri Series trophy without dropping a game.  India failed to win in the ODI series, and it took a match against Afghanistan to finally win a game on the tour.

In total the teams have player 117 times.  Australia winning 67 of them, and India 40.

The Teams

Australia (likely): 1 Aaron Finch, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Shane Watson, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Josh Hazlewood

No changes expected to the Australian side.  Josh Hazlewood should player after his four wickets against Pakistan.

India (likely): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Mohit Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav

India won’t change their winning formula either.

The Key Players

Mitchell Starc – Starc is one of a handful of dangerous left arm quicks still lurking in the competition.  However, Starc is undeniably the most accurate of them; making him the biggest threat in today’s semi.  His ability to mix between toe-crushingly accurate yorkers and bumpers has seen him consistently among the tournaments leading wicket-takers (currently 2nd behind Trent Boult), and he’ll be more than a handful against opponents that traditionally dislike searing speed.

MS Dhoni – The Indian captain has had a quiet time of it in New Zealand and Australia of late.  Rarely being asked to win matches with the bat, Dhoni has made just one significant contribution in the entire event – an unbeaten 85 against Zimbabwe.  Nevertheless, he has led his side with distinction, enterprise and calmness.  Traits that have helped his side win 11 World Cup games in a row, and traits that will be crucial here today.  He’s also a known finisher having led India to their 2011 World Cup win with 91 not out.  He’ll play a part and could end up doing something similar against Australia.

The Match Odds*

Australia – $1.40

India – $3.00

*Courtesy of Sportsbet Australia.

The Prediction

Australia have the best side in the competition, hands down.  They are understandably the favourites after bouncing back powerfully after a slight Pool game hiccup at Eden Park.  They also have a significant mental advantage over the Indians, and there is no better team in the World to leverage off the mind games.  Australia to win, by 60 runs or 6 wickets.

The Best Bets

Michael Clarke is without runs in the tournament, but Sydney is well suited to his game.  He’s a big chance to Top Score and if he does and Australia win you’ll get @ $7.50

Ravi Ashwin has been one of the few spin bowlers to take wickets at the tournament.  He’ll enjoy Sydney too and is @ $4.25

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