Indians have real jobs on their hand when they take on defending Champion Australia at Centurion. They have no other option than a win to advance further in the tournament after having lost their first game badly by 54 runs against Pakistan.
The 54-run loss to Pakistan on Saturday night has not just exposed the frailties of India's bowling and batting but has also put them in danger of crashing out of the event in case they lose on Monday.
Indian team whose some of the key players are suffering from injury but this is not an excuse at International level. They must perform or either be ready to pack their bags to fly back home.
The main concern of worry for the Indian captain is their bowling and fielding lapses in the field. Against Pakistan they have conceded too many runs in the last fifteen overs to be exact 135 in 15 overs. Their bowlers are short on confidence and only time will tell whether they deserve to be in a team which is close to be number one in the world. Their batsman also played some irresponsible shots to throw their wickets away at crucial phase of the game.
Batsman like Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan was the main culprit in the game against Pakistan. One question must be asked from Indian think tank how much chance Yusuf Pathan needs more to show his talent at International level. The main talent count when you perform under pressure and Yusuf has not done anything yet neither with ball nor with bat.
As Dhoni indicated during press conference, India is already thinking of playing with five regular bowlers against Australia and that will be great move if they do so. This move means India will play both Praveen Kumar and Amit Mishar, both players record against Australia is really amazing.
On the other hand Australia will heavily rely on their captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey for scoring runs for them. Rest of the batting looks fragile. In bowling department also they need to tighten their grip at start and in the later stage of the inning against faem Indian batting lineup.
There are all sorts of permutation and combination is going about which teams will qualify from Group A into the semi finals. But equation is simple if India loss the game against Australia then Australia and Pakistan are through to the semi finals and remainder of Group games will like a practice games. But if India wins then scenario became interesting. India will be upper hand since they will play their last Group games against weakened West Indies and Australia will take on unbeaten Pakistan. However, should India and Australia either both win or both lose their last group games, net run-rate will be required to determine the semi-finalists.
Watch out for
Gautam Gambhir: Gautam Gambhir played superbly against Pakistanis. An inning which looks like taking the game away from Pakistanis but due to misunderstanding in the middle he was ran out for well compiled 57 runs of 46 balls. Who forget that he has made his mark on the tour of Australia so it will be great contest between Gambhir and Brett Lee.
Ricky Ponting: A man who is looking in superb touch at the moment. He might have retired from Twenty20 internationals but Ricky Ponting remains Australia's most important player in ODI cricket. He was magnificent in compiling 79 against West Indies in difficult conditions and a big Ponting score can be the difference between mediocrity and dominance from Australia. It will be interesting to watch how he will approach against India.
Pitch & Condition
This will be fresh wickets the one used during South Africa and England game. The Pitch used so far where in the center of the ground now new pitch will shorten the ground a bit with leg side hit is only 68 meters away. Team winning the toss would love to bat first and put runs on the board. Any score in excess of 300 will be good total to defend.
After a big loss against Pakistan, M.S.Dhoni is already indicated during press conference that India will take field against Australia with quite a few changes. One change would be to bring Praveen Kumar in place of way-ward R.P.Singh and other possible change will be Amit Mishra in place of Yusuf Pathan. Yusuf Pathan has the talent but he has done nothing significant for his team in ODI’s. Amit Mishra is the man who won a game for India on debut against Australia at Mohali.
Australia will be hoping against hope that M.Clark should fit to play for this game but it’s unlikely to happen, that means Australia will go with Same Playing XI that played against West Indies.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 18:00 PM India Time)
India Squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, M.S.Dhoni (Captain & WK), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishara, Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma.
Australia Squad: Shane Watson, Tim Paine (WK), Ricky Ponting (Captain), Michael Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Cameron White, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle.
Stats & Trivia
India and Australia are playing after a long gap of eighteen months’ Last time they played in CB Series at Gabba when India vame out as winner to lift the CB Series.
India have won four of eight ODI’s they have played here at Centurion while Australia have manage to win four out of seven ODI’s they have played here.
Last time when these two teams played at this venue India has been thrashed by Australia by nine wickets.
Since 2003 World Cup, India have not won a single game in South Africa in between they have lost six games.
Both teams have lost their last two one day international match at Centurion.