After a string of predictable games in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, drama finally unfolded at Auckland on Tuesday. New Zealand sealed a thriller and entered their first-ever WC final. South Africa, on the other hand, are hurting once again. It was a match of epic proportions. Anyone still replaying Grant Elliot’s giant six in their head? You bet!
The focus now shifts to Sydney where defending champions India take on home favorites Australia. Both teams have seen success in the past, they know what it feels like to be on top. Ever since that disastrous tri-series, India has been on a dream run. They won all their group games and finished as table-toppers. Their batting is power-packed, their bowling has gone from strength to strength. Heck, they were even boosted by the #WontGiveItBack campaign and the hilarious mauka mauka adverts.
Australia are currently ranked No.1 in the world, they have the home advantage and have come off a successful tri-series. It isn’t a surprise to see them in the final four, considering that they played all their matches in their own country. The last time they faced India in a World Cup was the quarter-final of 2011, where India snatched a deserving win.
Australia haven’t lost to any team at the SCG in more than three years. Out of the 13 times that these two teams have met in ODIs, India have won only once. Going into this highly anticipated semi-final, this might be Australia’s only edge apart from home conditions. The SCG pitch will most likely assist the Indian spinners. R Ashwin’s consistency will be the key for India. India may not be firm favorites despite being the defending champs, but they are capable of turning it around on big occasions.
Players to watch out for:
Virat Kohli: India need him to fire now more than ever. This World Cup,Virat’s only century came during India’s opening match against Pakistan. Since then, Virat Kohli has looked tentative and out of touch. He needs to bounce back and be the match winner that he is. Given the law of averages, it’s about time.
Steve Smith: Even though Glenn Maxwell is Australia’s leading run-scorer in the World Cup, his batting form can swing from mediocre to awesome and back, in a split second. Australia’s key man is the consistent Steve Smith, who will be handy in negotiating India’s spin attack.