Aussies’ World Cup dream to end tonight?

24 March 2011

Written by: Ben Waterworth

India v Australia: 2nd Quarter-Final, Thursday 24/3 – 8.00pm (AEDST) at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad


Game 1: India (4/370 – Sehwag 175, Kohli 100 not out) defeated Bangladesh (9/283 – Tamim 70, Shakib 55, Patel 4/48) by 87 runs.

Game 2: India (338 – Tendulkar 120, Bresnan 5/48) tied with England (8/338 – Strauss 158, Bell 69, Zaheer 3/64).

Game 3:  Ireland (207 – Porterfield 75, Yuvraj 5/31) lost to India (5/210 – Yuvraj 50 not out) by five wickets.

Game 4: Netherlands (189 – Borren 38, Zaheer 3/20) lost to India (5/191 – Yuvraj 51 not out, Seelaar 3/53) by five wickets.

Game 5: India (296 – Tendulkar 111, Steyn 5/50) lost to South Africa (7/300 – Kallis 69, Harbhajan 3/53) by three wickets (with two balls remaining)

Game 6: India (268 – Yuvraj 113, Rampaul 5/51) defeated West Indies (188 – Smith 81, Khan 3/26) by 80 runs.


Game 1: Australia (6/262 – Watson 79, Clarke 58 not out) defeated Zimbabwe (171 – Johnson 4/19) by 91 runs.

Game 2: New Zealand (206 – N. McCullum 52, Johnson 4/33, Tait 3/35) lost to Australia (3/207 – Watson 62, Haddin 55) by seven wickets.

Game 3: Sri Lanka (3/146 – Sangakkara 73 not out) and Australia’s match was abandoned due to rain.

Game 4: Australia (6/324 – Clarke 93, Odhiambo 3/57) defeated Kenya (6/264 – C.Obuya 98 not out, Mishra 72) by 60 runs.

Game 5: Canada (211 – Patel 54, Lee 4/46) lost to Australia (3/212 – Watson 94, Haddin 88) by seven wickets (with 91 balls remaining).

Game 6: Australia (176 – Gul 3/30) lost to Pakistan (6/178 – Lee 4/28) by four wickets (with 54 balls remaining).


He came into the World Cup as just another fast bowler, but Zaheer Khan will leave as one of the most reliable paceman in the game. The 32-year-old has taken 15 wickets at 14.86 from his six matches so far, including two hauls of three wickets against Netherlands and West Indies. Khan is a very different bowler compared to when he last ran out for his country in a World Cup eight years ago. Perhaps the biggest difference is in his newfound confidence, where he believes he can do anything with ball in hand. With a few of his fellow bowlers currently lacking the same amount of confidence he does, Khan will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility against the Aussies if India wishes to progress to the final four.

Shane Watson’s transformation into a world-class batsman has been a pleasure to watch, but now it’s time for him to produce a big innings against the best team on the biggest stage. The 29-year-old averaged 33.87 runs per innings over the first five years of his ODI career. But a newborn technique and approach to batting has seen him increase that average to 47.1 over the past five years. Watson has been ok without being outstanding at this World Cup so far, accumulating 265 runs at 53. However Australia’s run tally has been built around Watson and Brad Haddin’s opening partnerships, so both men need to produce big innings’ – particularly Watson – if the Aussies want to cause an upset.


Sunny and very hot – maximum temperature of 40 degrees.


Ahmedabad is a typical subcontinent pitch: a slow, spin-friendly wicket that gives batsmen full value for their shots once they are set at the crease. You have to win the toss and bat first, so the opposition team has to field in the scorching heat.


The make-up of the Indian team depends heavily on star Virender Sehwag. He missed the last group game against the Windies with a knee injury and captain MS Dhoni said a decision on the opening batsman’s participation would be made just hours before the start of the game. If Sehwag doesn’t play, Gautam Gambhir will open with Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina will slot into the middle order.

  1. Virender Sehwag/Gautam Gambhir
  2. Sachin Tendulkar
  3. Gautam Gambhir/Suresh Raina
  4. Virat Kohli
  5. Yuvraj Singh
  6. MS Dhoni (C & WK)
  7. Yusuf Pathan
  8. Harbhajan Singh
  9. Zaheer Khan
  10. R Ashwin
  11. Munaf Patel

Australia has only made one change to its team throughout the entire tournament, with Michael Hussey replacing brother David for the match against Kenya. That trend should continue, unless the selectors believe the out-of-form Cameron White could be a liability. If that’s the case, David Hussey might squeeze his way back into the side, but it’s unlikely.

  1. Shane Watson
  2. Brad Haddin (WK)
  3. Ricky Ponting (C)
  4. Michael Clarke
  5. Cameron White
  6. Michael Hussey
  7. Steven Smith
  8. Mitchell Johnson
  9. Brett Lee
  10. Jason Krejza
  11. Shaun Tait


What a mouth-watering contest – the best in the world pitted against the pre-tournament favourites, with the winner to play Pakistan on Wednesday.

Over the past decade, the contests between Australia and India have been bitter yet so exciting at the same time. This match is set to be no different, with so much on the line and plenty of emotion in the air.

Despite losing just one game for the tournament, the Aussies’ World Cup campaign has gone far from smoothly. First the match-fixing allegations against Zimbabwe, then the washed out match with Sri Lanka and then yesterday’s reports Ricky Ponting will stand down as captain after the tournament – a report he emphatically denied.

India hasn’t quite lived up to its pre-tournament hype – yet. There have been some embarrassing batting collapses – 7/51 against England and 9/29 against South Africa – while the fielding has been atroscious. The Indians are certainly not playing like World Cup champions, but the potential is certainly there.

Both teams’ middle orders need to perform. Watson-Haddin and Sehwag-Tendulkar have had to do the majority of scoring for both teams, but if they fall early in their respective innings, the out-of-form middle orders will be exposed.

The bowling battle will be fascinating. In Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson, Australia has the most damaging and threatening pace attack in the world. But in Harbhajan Singh, R Aswhin and Yuvraj Singh, India has one of the unique spin attacks in the world. The wicket will obviously favour the Indian bowlers, but the Aussies know where to pitch the ball – a factor way more important than natural variation of the pitch.

The Aussies’ unbeaten World Cup streak finished at 34 matches after losing to Pakistan on Saturday. But they are an experienced outfit who know how to win in this situation. Expect them to fight it out right to the end.

But with high expectations an array of stars with both bat and ball and a passionate home crowd behind them, it’s hard to go past the Indians here. After winning the past three, the time has come for Australia to hand over the World Cup baton to another team – India is that team.