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Australia v India Cricket World Cup Semi-Final Preview and Tips - Can Australia make a home final?

Suneer Chowdhary 25 Mar 2015
  • Australia and India clash for a place in the World Cup final
  • Australia have won seven of the previous 10 encounters at World Cups
  • The tournament co-hosts start as favourites
Australia's paceman Mitchell Starc celebrates a wicket

Australia and India will go head-to-head in a mouth-watering Cricket World Cup semi-final on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Tournament co-hosts Australia will start as favourites to win through to Sunday's World Cup final but must see off India first.

The match gets underway at 2.30pm AEDT and will be broadcast live on Channel Nine in Australia. Coverage will also be available online.



Preview

Both teams had a similar passage through their quarter-final getting to the last four stage. In the end, those quarter-final wins turned out to be one-sided ones but it wasn't before both teams had been given scares by their respective opponents.

India were in a bit of trouble in the middle of their innings after having decided to bat first, slumping to 115 for three in the 28th over. The run-rate plummeted to less than four an over on occasions during that stage and on a pitch that looked quite flat, that was quite well below-par. 

Suresh Raina received a reprieve off a close lbw decision and Rohit Sharma was out caught off a no-ball that later turned out to be a legitimate delivery. The pair went on to punish Bangladesh and helped notch up 302 in their 50 overs, with Rohit hitting 137 and Raina making 65.

Australia bowled Pakistan out for 213 in a fine display of bowling, that saw Josh Hazlewood pick up four wickets in his 10. This was after there were doubts over his selection for this game, contesting for his spot with Pat Cummins. Australia should have chased that down with some ease but at 59 for three they looked like they were in a spot of bother.

Wahab Riaz bowled what has been described as the spell of the tournament and Shane Watson scraped through some dodgy shot-making and a dropped catch to carve out a win for Australia in the end. Again, the margin of win, by six wickets and with more than 16 overs to spare, was a big enough one but it hides the batting chinks that were on display.



Neither team will be interested in making any changes to their playing XI unless there are last-minute injuries to their side. India's biggest problem going into the knock-outs was the form of Rohit and he answered his critics back with a century against Bangladesh - his first in World Cup cricket. 

The bowlers have also done well as a unit, although Ravindra Jadeja's form hasn't been up to scratch yet. He could end up being the weak-link in the Indian attack. 

Australia's main concerns included the form of Aaron Finch, Shane Watson's inclusion in the side over Mitchell Marsh and the third seam bowler's spot. It's fair to say that two of those issues have been resolved, with Watson's match-winning half-century last game and Hazlewood's man-of-the-match-winning four-for haul. It's now on to Finch to deliver and what better stage than the semi-final of a World Cup.

The previous game that was played here was the quarter-final between South Africa and Sri Lanka and it turned out to be a one-sided one in favour of the Proteas. They bowled immaculately and with a lot of purpose to restrict Sri Lanka to a paltry 133 before knocking the runs off in just 18 overs for the loss of one wicket.

What this underlines is that it's a decent pitch if one bowls well on it but the team batting first needs to target around 280-300 to try and win the game. 

The head-to-head is in favour of Australia, who have won seven of their previous 10 encounters. The last time they met, however, was in the 2011 World Cup where India overcame Australia in a quarter-final on their way to the title. 

Predictions

Team batting first to win
Steven Smith to top-score for Australia
Virat Kohli to top-score for India 


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Australia v India Cricket World Cup Semi-Final Preview and Tips - Can Australia make a home final?

Australia and India will go head-to-head in a mouth-watering Cricket World Cup semi-final on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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