Two of the strongest teams coming into the World Cup, the game on Thursday the 26th of March is going to one of pure intensity. India, unbeaten in the group stages are coming in strong with contributions from each of their players. Virat Kohli kicked off the season smashing a century against Pakistan. Shikhar Dhawan pulled off two centuries with Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma also jumping in on the century bandwagon. Batting was never the big question for India, it’s their bowling that has let them down in the past. However with a fit Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami they have pulled out 70 wickets from seven games. The spinners have also contributed massively towards India’s success with Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja also taking wickets.
Australia have had a more interesting run up to the semi-final. They had lost their game against New Zealand as their batting line-up crumbled. It was only an incredible bowling performance from Mitchell Starc that helped them save face. The quarter-final against Pakistan also highlighted the chinks in Australia’s armour. Wahab Riaz bowled as if he was reading from a manual of how to pick off the Australian batsmen. He should have had four wickets had Pakistan taken their catches.
The fact that the game is being played at the SCG is a huge factor. It is almost a dream pitch for India, as good a pitch as they could ask for in Australia. Ravi Ashwin will be key in India’s bowling attack. Imran Tahir bowled phenomenally against Sri Lanka at the quarter final and backed up by JP Duminy they picked seven out of the ten wickets. A number that may unnerve the hosts. They have so far only used a specialist spinner once in Xavier Doherty and if they choose to change their team dynamic again to suit the pitch it may work against them. India have used the same 11 throughout the tournament, with Shami resting for one game only. They have settled as a unit and they compliment each other well.
Australia are likely to continue with their brand of aggressive cricket in an attempt to wind up the Indians, in particular Virat Kohli. They will look to throw him off his game from the start. However as with Riaz, Kohli can change the game in an instant. If he gets fired up and gets into the game, India will be flying back to the MCG for the finals against New Zealand.