After witnessing a sensational first semi-final of World Cup 2015 between one of the hosts New Zealand and a highly balanced South Africa, all eyes are on second semi-final between Australia and India.
India, with seven and all win in the ongoing tournament, is a defending champion will face a challenging Aussie warriors playing in their home. Australia has an expediency of home-ground, while India on the other hand has a strong batting line-up having capability to hit hart on Australian green-wickets.
It is interesting that both these cricketing giants are going to face each other first time in the semi-final of World Cup history. Although both teams have met in the final back in 2003 won by Australia but they did not come across in the semi-finals till 2015.
If we recall the history of playing World Cup semi-finals, India has placed itself in the semi-finals for four times out of which three times has managed to secure a place into the final. Previously, India lost in semi-final in the World Cup 1987. But it has a good record in finals where it has grabbed two out of three.
On the other hand, the interesting aspect about Australian team is that they never lost a single semi-final in the history of World Cup. Whenever Australia reached the semi-final, it certainly step into the final junction as well. The four times World Champions Australia has the honour to have won the most titles with two times remaining as runner-ups – 1975 and 1996.
As far as the matches between both these teams in the mega events are concerned, Aussies have a much better record with 7-3. Total ten matches have been played between Australia and India in all the World Cups since 1997. Interestingly, first time when they faced each other in was in the World Cup 1983 when Australia won by 162 runs. But the second clash also took place in that very event in which India won by 118.
Both teams have played only final with each other in 2003 where Australia, under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting, secured a comprehensive win over India by 125 runs. This final witnessed the highest team total ever made in World Cup finals as Australia mounted a massive 359/2 courtesy Australian skipper’s 140*.
Now, let us talk about the first ever semi-final between Australia and India to be played on March 26 Thursday. The defending champion India is unbeaten with comparatively easy win over all its competitors in this main event. India’s batting line-up is considered to be one of the finest among all the current cricket teams. It has world-class batsmen such as Rohit Sharma, Raina, Kohli, Dhowan, following the captain with potential to hit hard. All the players are dedicated in the field with a bit laxity on bowling side. Since express bowlers play a key role in overcoming Australians on their land, it is crucial for every team to land in the ground with at least 4 specialist fast/medium bowlers. And this is the only weak point which can cause India a big loss. In other words, India is missing its ‘Wahab Riaz’ against strong, technically organized and mentally tough Australian batsmen.
Although India is not blessed with express bowlers but the skipper, Mahindra Singh Dhoni, knows the art to utilize the endowed weapons effectively. And this is witnessed in all the seven World Cup matches of India in which their bowlers bowled out all the batsmen within 50 overs. Observing each and every aspect of not only the match statistics but also the opponent team’s batsman’s technique from behind the stamps, he is fully aware when and where to use his power to destroy the batting line of any team.
On the other side, Australia is much balanced than India as it has good batting line-up with handy all-rounders and some real fast-bowler who can turn out to be very nasty for Indian batsmen. If Australian bowling attack plans how to restrain Indian batsmen and confine them round about 250 (in case India batting first), it will really difficult for Indian bowlers to defend a relatively small total in this big match. But on the contrary, batting first, Australia does not pile up a massive total such as more than 300, then it would not be an unachievable task for Indian robust batting line since they know how to destroy any bowling attack.
Credits: Mujahid Ali