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World Cup 2023: India vs Australia – 5 Player Battles That Could Decide Winner

#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.

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World Cup
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There has not been any aspect where India have not established undisputed superiority at the 2023 ICC World Cup. Topping every chart – from the league stage points table to that of the leading wicket-takers and run-scorers – India were the first team to qualify for Sunday’s (19 November) final.

The second entrant – Australia – was, however, a surprise, but only if one is to judge by the disastrous start of their campaign. For, if we are to look at history and records, the five-time champions have always found a way to the top, having featured in seven of the previous 12 finals.

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And once Australia are on the top, they usually know how to claim the crown – having won the trophy on all of the four previous occasions where they made it to the last step. They will prefer a continuation of the streak, but will need to overcome the steep Indian wall, which will not be 11-strong in the final, but 130,000-strong.

Ahead of the match, which has every reason to be a battle par brilliance, let us have a look at the five intrinsic player battles which could decide the outcome. And subsequently, of course, the destination of cricket’s most prestigious trophy.

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1. Rohit Sharma vs Mitchell Starc

Josh Hazlewood might have trapped Rohit Sharma leg before wicket on a duck in the last meeting, but that was his first success against the Indian skipper – after four unsuccessful attempts. Pat Cummins has not been very effective against Rohit either, having dismissed him only twice in 16 ODI meetings.

The only member of Australia’s pace trio who has had some success against Rohit – not significant, but comparatively more than his compatriots – is Mitchell Starc.
#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.

The opening batter has been dismissed thrice by the left-arm pacer in ODIs – the last of such an occurrence taking place only a few months ago.

Considering how Rohit being at his aggressive best – as testified by his strike rate of 124.15 – has propelled India to accumulate ginormous totals, it seems certain that he will take on Australia’s new-ball bowlers in the final. On the flip side, however, this presents Starc with an opportunity to get Rohit’s wicket for the fourth time.

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2. Virat Kohli vs Josh Hazlewood

Why did Australia succumb to a defeat in the league stage fixture against India? Because of Virat Kohli & KL Rahul’s 165-run partnership, sure, but before that, Mitchell Marsh handed Kohli a reprieve by dropping his catch when the talismanic batter had only 12 runs to his name.

Who was the bowler? Josh Hazlewood – who did get Kohli out later on – but at a time when the match was all but out of Australia’s grasp. 

#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.
That, however, marked the fifth occasion when Hazlewood had caused Kohli’s downfall. The former Indian skipper has scored only 51 ODI runs in 88 deliveries against the pacer, with a strike rate of only 58, and an average of merely 10.2.

Considering his form, the man who has 50 ODI hundreds is very unlikely to be intimidated by any bowler. But against Hazlewood – who has been Australia’s most successful bowler against Kohli – will he be a tad inhibited?

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3. KL Rahul vs Adam Zampa

Albeit the target was only 200, KL Rahul took the attack to leg-spinner Adam Zampa on 8 October’s match, scoring 29 runs in 25 deliveries. The approach was important for a couple of reasons.

#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.

Firstly, with the team recuperating after a nightmarish start, it was important not to let Zampa – Australia’s solitary spinner in the bowling arsenal – offer any joy.

But from the macrocosmic perspective, it was a battle of supremacy for Rahul, after being troubled by the spinner on previous occasions. Prior to that match, Zampa had dismissed Rahul on four occasions, whilst conceding only 109 runs.

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4. Mohammed Shami vs David Warner

Indian pacers have wreaked havoc with the new ball, but on that 8 October match against Australia, they could pick only one wicket in the first 16 overs. A major reason behind this was David Warner’s resilience.

The veteran has incredible numbers against India’s pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah – 117 runs in 130 deliveries, zero wickets. Against Siraj, he has only played two ODIs, but has scored 35 runs in 27 deliveries. Once again, zero wickets.
#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.

But like Starc for Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami has been Warner's kryptonite. He has been dismissed thrice in ODIs by the seamer – who will be high on confidence after a seven-wicket haul in the semi-final – and averages only 34.3.

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5. Kuldeep Yadav vs Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell has a bizarre, my-way-or-the-highway batting approach against Kuldeep Yadav. He has scored 99 runs in only 69 deliveries against the left-arm wrist spinner in ODIs, at a spectacular strike rate of 143.5. This highlights his longing for unleashing the unorthodox shots in his repertoire against Kuldeep.

#INDvsAUS | Ahead of the #CWC23 final, let us have a look at the five player battles that could decide the winner.

Yet, he has also been dismissed thrice by the spinner, highlighting Maxwell has often paid a hefty price for his approach. With the batter not expected to change his approach overnight, this battle can range from reckless disaster to ravaging success for both players.

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