About the Match
The stage is set for the semi-final clash between Australia and India, who will battle it out on 26th March at Sydney Cricket Ground to get closer to the title. While Australia lost a match in the group stages, India has been unbeaten till now and will look to continue with their winning momentum. However, the hosts had been in the driver’s seat all through summer against the men in blue in the series just before the world cup, which gives them an added advantage. We are surely going to witness a fierce contest right from the first ball; the side that can win the battle of nerves and keep up the pressure on the opponent will have a better chance at victory.
Rohit Sharma’s 137 off 126 against Bangladesh came as a good sign for the top order and he will be instrumental against the Aussies too; along with Shikhar Dhawan, who has also been performing well in crunch situations, the batting line-up will look forward to a strong foundation. Kohli will be targeted by the opponents and will need to be cautious while facing Johnson and party; Rahane, Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja are in good nick with the bat and will put their best foot forward on Thursday too. The pace attack looks very promising with Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma scalping wickets regularly; spinners Ashwin and Jadeja have also contributed when required either to break partnerships or restrict the run-flow. They will need to repeat their performance and demolish the strong Australian batting line-up if they want to help the team get to a vantage point. While the batsmen faltered against Bangladesh, players like Raina and Jadeja came through to provide stability and they will be crucial for the team’s success with the bat and in fielding. Overall, the team looks hungry to finish strong and defend the title; they will want to performze well to come out trumps on Thursday.
While the top order is struggling, players like Steven Smith, Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell are contributing well with the bat; Clarke is yet to make a mark in the tournament but his strong record against India will surely boost his morale. Watson’s well-made 64 off 66 along with Maxwell’s 44 off 29 helped the team win the match against Pakistan; they will be cautious against the Indian pace attack, which has been taking wickets consistently. On the bowling front, Hazlewood took 4-35 and looks good to perform here too; the deadly combination of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner can create havoc for the Indian batsmen with their pace and economy. They have plenty of hard-hitters and a deep batting line-up, which will make the best use of the home advantage to post a huge total; with the bowlers in good form, the Aussies look very sharp to take catches and restrict the run-flow between the wickets.
Both teams have their own set of positives and will come out all guns blazing in the upcoming game; while India’s unbeaten run-up to the semi-final gives them the morale boost, the Aussies have the home advantage. The contest will be fierce and could swing either way but we feel that India with players peaking at the right moment, is better placed to win this crucial match.
India, 3.00 @ Bet365