Stats: Australia Dominate Head to Head, But Not Favourites v India
The Indian team is likely to face their first stern test in the World Cup 2019 when they take on defending champions Australia on Sunday, 9 June.
India began their campaign with a convincing win over South Africa earlier this week, as they restricted the Proteas to 227-9 and chased down the runs quite comfortably.
The Australian team, meanwhile, are on a hot 10-match winning streak. They began the streak during the ODI series in India earlier this year, swept the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, and have beaten their first two opponents in this tournament.
The same is true for World Cups as well, with the Aussie side knocking India out of the 2015 edition.
However, that doesn’t necessarily translate to Australia having the edge in the context of this contest.
Since the completion of World Cup 2015, both teams have played 18 matches and have won nine matches a piece. Series-wise as well, the two teams are level at two series apiece.
This year too, India beat Australia in a series Down Under, and the Australians returned the favour when they toured India subsequently.
Teams Matched Man for Man
In terms of match-winners, and pretty much man for man, there’s very little to differentiate the two teams. Both teams have solid openers: India have Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan at the top, and the Australians have David Warner and Aaron Finch to match.
Rohit and Shikhar have stitched together most century partnerships as an opening pair against Australia than against any other opponent. Similarly, Finch and Warner have had their most success against India than against any other opposition.
Rohit individually loves the Australian attack too; the Indian opener has scored seven hundreds against them – more than he has against any other opponent – and averages 61.88 against them.
Kohli too has scored more hundreds against Australia than against any other team; if he scores one more ton, he will equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most hundred against Australia in ODIs.
Kohli’s equivalent in the Australian line-up is Steve Smith. The former Australian captain – who turned 30 last weekend – is rated among the top batsmen in world cricket currently.
Smith, despite his unusual batting style, scored what turned out to be a match-winning half-century against West Indies, and looks to be in fine nick.
Any damage Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell cause with the ball might be a bonus to their respective teams, but the damage they cause with the willow will have a huge impact on their respective teams’ fortunes.
Hardik has a career batting strike-rate of 117.67, while the corresponding number for Maxwell is 121.96.
India’s key bowlers in the context of this match will be Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Interestingly, it has emerged that apart from employing Sridharan Sridharam as their spin bowling coach, the Australians have also engaged the services of two Indian spinners – namely KK Jiyas and Pardeep Sahu – to prepare for facing Kuldeep and Chahal.
Australia used the short ball strategy in the match against the West Indies; if the surface has any tinge of green on Sunday, they will not hesitate to use the short ball ploy against India as well.
Starc, who became the fastest to take 150 wickets in ODIs, was lethal in the match against the West Indies – the left-arm pacer bowled quick consistently and clocked a top speed of 151.5 kmph.
Possible Playing XIs
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.