« Back to articlePrint this article

Final opportunity for World Cup aspirants in series-decider

March 12, 2019 12:23 IST

The fifth and final ODI against Australia will be one last chance for Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to do something special and stake their claim for a place in the World Cup team.

IMAGE: India, who have lost the last two ODIs against Australia, will hope to get back to winning ways in Delhi on Wednesday and clinch the five-match ODI series. Photograph: PTI

India will have to quickly put behind a massive bowling failure, sloppy fielding and tactical mistakes to tame a resurgent Australia in the series-deciding fifth ODI in Delhi on Wednesday.

The cricketing world has applauded India's current bowling attack as one of its most potent but the failure to defend a mammoth total in Mohali came as a reality check for it.


Even the ever-reliable Jasprit Bumrah was taken to cleaners by Ashton Turner with ease, though the way captain Virat Kohli handled his quota of overs did leave many perplexed.

Kohli and the Indian team definitely missed the calming presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose understanding of game situations has been helpful in pressure situations.

Without doubt, the Mohali pitch was flat, offering nothing to the bowlers but a world-class attack including the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav was expected to defend a 350-plus total. The blazing knock by Turner, who was helped by the Indian team's butter-fingered fielders helped Australia turn it around in style in the last few overs.

In the third ODI in Ranchi,  the team bowled first and in the next match in Mohali, Kohli opted to bat first, taking the dew into consideration but on both days, the opposite happened. It was dry when India chased in Ranchi but dew helped Australia's chase in the fourth ODI with the Indian bowlers struggling to grip the ball.

At the Feroze Shah Kotla ground, the wicket is usually low and slow but the team would not like to be surprised in the key game which makes the toss crucial.

Not many runs have been scored in the last two ODI matches played in Delhi with India losing to New Zealand by six runs in October 2016 and winning against West Indies by 48 runs in October 2014.

Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant misses a stumping chance during the Mohali ODI. Photograph: PTI

Interestingly, the Twenty20 games played at this venue have been full of runs.

The hosts can heave a sigh of relief with Shikhar Dhawan striking form. The Delhi left-hander managed to silence critics who had been after him due to a prolonged lean patch.

At his home ground, he would look to continue the flow of runs, but it remains to be seen if the batters get a surface which assists stroke-play.

Going by history, the surface should be ideal for wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as the slow bowlers have done well in the previous games.

Usman Khawaja has been the man for Australia this series. His stellar show at the top has been instrumental in the visitors' turnaround in the series and getting him early would be crucial to India's chances.

With captain Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb and new sensation Turner contributing in the team's good run, this Australian side is definitely on the right track to regain its status as one of the most formidable sides.

The series-deciding contest will also be the Indian team's last in the 50-over format before the World Cup, making it the players' final chance to make an impression on the selectors minds.

Vijay Shankar has done a reasonably fine job with the bat in the limited chances he has got. But the young Rishabh Pant's World Cup chances were dealt a big blow after he missed an easy stumping chance in Mohali to give Turner a lifeline which proved to be the turning point of the match and he has also not made a case for himself with the bat in limited overs cricket.

The top and middle-order is largely settled and Wednesday's game will be one last chance for Pant, Shankar, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to do something special and stake their claim for a place in the World Cup team.

Jadeja may figure in the playing XI in the fifth match, considering that his left-arm spin on the Kotla wicket can be effective.


India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Alex Carey, Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff.