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Will India Make Changes Against Australia?

June 24, 2024 11:49 IST
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IMAGE: India will aim to continue their winning run against Australia and seal their place in the T20 World Cup semis. Photograph: BCCI/X



India face their biggest test of the T20 World Cup when they clash against Australia in their final Super 9 match at the Darren Sammy Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, on Monday, June 24l 2024.

The two teams have gone through a contrasting few days in the lead-up to the match. While India eased past Bangladesh by 50 runs to close in on the semis, Australia's hopes are hanging by a thread after they were shocked by Afghanistan.

India had all their flaws ironed out in their emphatic victory against Bangladesh. Rohit Sharma (23) and Virat Kohli (37) got back among the runs to give India a flying start in the Powerplay, while Shivam Dube also scored an useful 34 with three huge sixes to secure his place in the team.

Hardik Pandya provided the flourish at the end with a blazing knock of 50 from 27 balls as India finally showed their might with the bat, posting a huge 196/5 in their 20 overs.

Pandya and Kohli also hit three sixes each as the top six Indian batters all bagged at least a six each.

In all, India had 13 sixes in their innings -- the most by their batters in a T20 World Cup beating the previous record of 11 sixes against England in the T20 World Cup in 2007.

After struggling in the group stage games in the US, India's batters have enjoyed the flat pitches in the Caribbean, with totals of 181/8 against Afghanistan and a total of around 200 against Bangladesh.

On the other hand, Australia's batters were bowled out for 127 as they crashed against Afghanistan's pacers on a tricky pitch at Kingstown, St Vincent.

Not only was their batting below-par their bowlers also struggled to leave their mark on a helpful pitch as Afghanistan's openers put on a match-clinching stand of 118 runs in 15.5 overs.

That was Australia's first ever loss to Afghanistan in international cricket and it makes their task of progressing to the semi-finals very difficult.

Australia face a tough must-win match against the in-form Indians. If Australia lose the match they face the prospect of getting knocked out if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in their Super 8 game.

What will also make Australia nervous is that the weather forecast for the match is not encouraging with rain predicted to play a part.

Even if Australia beat India by a small margin, they could lose out on the semis if Afghanistan get a big win against Bangladesh.

For India, their main aim will be to continue the winning run and finish top of the group. If India beat Australia and take top place in Group 1 of Super 8 they will face England in the semis, while a defeat which sees them finish second could pit them against the in-form South Africans, the only other unbeaten team in this World Cup apart from India.

India (with a net run rate of +2.425) also need be aware that a heavy defeat in their final Super 8 match could see them miss out as Australia and Afghanistan could inch ahead of them in the net run rate.

Barring any injuries, India would be expected to continue with their winning combination in the crucial game against Australia, which is also must win for them. With Rohit and Kohli getting some form back along with Dube, things are only looking better for them.

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah has picked twice the wickets than boundaries conceded in this World Cup. Photograph: BCCI/X

The bowling line-up has been India's big strength in this World Cup. Jasprit Bumrah has been by far the best bowler of the World Cup, claiming 10 wickets in five games at an economy rate of 3.42 while his bowling partner Arshdeep Singh has been quite effective with the ball, taking 12 wickets -- the most by an Indian bowler so far in this tournament.

Unbelievably, Bumrah has picked twice the number of wickets than boundaries he has conceded -- four fours and a six in 19 overs bowled so far!

Hardik Pandya has been the key player for India with both bat and ball. Along with the crucial fifty against Bangladesh, Pandya has done an excellent job with the ball in the middle overs with eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.47.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav has proved to be a handful for the opposition batters ever since coming into the team for the Super 8 stage, with five wickets in two games.

Axar Patel (4 wickets in 5 games) and Ravindra Jadeja (1 wickets in 5 games) have stuck to their task of keep things tight in the middle overs.

But Australia have prove to be the big thorn in India's flesh in big games. India suffered a double blow at the hands of Australia last year, losing in the finals of the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup.

Even though they suffered a reverse against Afghanistan, Australia have enough match winners in their teams to bounce back.

Travis Head loves batting against India, while David Warner would be keen to leave a mark with the bat in his final T20 World Cup, while the middle order comprises of the dangerous trio of Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.

Australia are likely to bring back Mitchell Marsh for the crunch game against India after making the mistake of leaving him out against Afghanistan. Pat Cummins has been in amazing form with the ball with back-to-back hat-tricks, while Adam Zampa has been the best spinner in the World Cup with 13 wickets from six games.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh.

Who do you think should be part of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup Super 8s match against Australia?

Please select your team from the list below and do post your playing XI in the message board below:

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