Previous World Dominators Clash

Shane Watson hits winning runs at World Cup. Image courtesy of:
Shane Watson has improved at number six. Image courtesy of:

Australia Cricket Logo




SCG, Sydney

Thursday March 26 – 1.30 PM (AEST)




India Cricket Logo

Between them, India and Australia boast six ICC World Cup titles and on Thursday one of the multiple winners will qualify to face a final debutant in Sunday’s decider.

Like New Zealand, India head into this semi-final blockbuster with seven wins from as many Cup outings. After a poor summer in Australia, the reigning champions have been irresistible at this tournament. They followed pool victories over the likes of Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies with a dominant win over Bangladesh in the quarters.

Talk about turning things around in a few weeks; India have four batsmen in the top 20 on the Run Scorer List. With 367 at 52.42, Shikhar Dhawan is sixth, Virat Kohli (304) 13th and Suresh Raina (277 from 5 innings) 20th. While never really posting huge totals, they have managed to pass 300 on three occasions.

Third overall on the Top Wicket Takers List, Mohammed Shami leads the Indian attack with 17 scalps in six matches at an average of 13.29. Umesh Yadav (14), Ravi Ashwin (12) and Ravindra Jadeja (9) are also in the top 25, and their efforts mean the title-holders have bowled out all seven opponents so far this campaign.

Barring for a washout against Bangladesh and New Zealand’s one wicket resistance, Australia could’ve had a similar story heading into this encounter. With Mitchell Starc (18 wickets at 9.77) leading the way, they’ve bowled out their last four opponents, as well as England in game 1. But the Aussies next best with the ball is supposed spearhead Mitchell Johnson , who has paltry returns of 10 wickets at 24.6. Preferred over Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood took 4/35 against Pakistan in the quarters and again looms as a key.

Interestingly the four-time champs don’t have a batsman among the top 10 run scorers, with Glenn Maxwell the best at 15. He’s made 301 from five digs at an average of 75.25. Dave Warner is next with 288, while Steve Smith has 241. After an unbeaten 64 off 66 deliveries all-rounder Shane Watson has found form at the right time, considering he was dumped for the Afghanistan match just three weeks ago.

This is a battle between the two highest ranked nations in ODIs, and if Australia are to keep the number one spot and stay in the running for a fifth World Cup, they can’t afford any top order slip ups. It’d also be a bonus if Johnson really cut loose.



Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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