Table of Contents
Hosts India will take on five-time champions Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium on 19th November as both sides will be going hammer and throng at a chance of lifting the prestigious cup one more time in their respective storied histories.
India will face Australia at the grandest stage as the two biggest modern rivals of international cricket will play in a rematch of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup final, 2011 World Cup quarter-final, and 2015 World Cup semi-final.
The giant-size stadium in Ahmedabad will be hosting the two titans who have won 7 of the 12 editions so far of the quadrennial tournament where both Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins would be hoping to lift the coveted trophy.
The Ultimate Showdown
Both India and Australia crashed out at the semi-final stage of the 2019 edition of the World Cup as the Men in Blue failed to chase the target against New Zealand while the Australia batters were shackled by Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, and Adil Rashid with the eventual champions England chasing the target with ease in the second semi-final.
In the 2023 edition, India and Australia faced at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in a tournament opener for both sides and the Kangaroos posted a lowly total of 199 runs as Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah starred with the ball.
In the second innings, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul showcased resilience after the side found itself at 2 runs for the loss of 3 wickets and helped the Men in Blue start the tournament with an important win.
The Kangaroos and the Men in Blue have faced each other 13 times in the Cricket World Cup and expectedly, the team from down under has the upper hand with 8 wins while India has recorded five wins.
While India has won three of the five matches batting first and two whilst chasing, Australia has a record favoring batting first as only one win out of eight came in a chasing cause.
Journey to the Final
The Indian cricket team juggernaut seems to be unstoppable as the 2023 Asia Cup Champions came into the tournament with confidence on an all-time high and the perfect combination of 11 players that provided skipper Rohit Sharma with six bowling options and eight batting options.
The fast-bowling trio of Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Hardik Pandya had to take the responsibility in the first few matches alongside the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja as Shardul Thakur failed to hit the right marks in the first four matches.
After brushing aside the Australia challenge as discussed above, India chased down targets against Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh inside 35, 30.3, and 41.3 overs in Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Pune.
After the injury to Pandya during the Bangladesh fixture, Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami were drafted into the team in place of Pandya and Shardul limiting the team’s bowling options to five and batting options to seven with a long tail.
What followed was a dream for Shami and the Indian cricket fans who always wanted to see an Indian fast bowler tormenting the opposition irrespective of the pitch or conditions on offer. He took 14 wickets in the next three fixtures against New Zealand, England, and Sri Lanka with fifers against the Blackcaps and the Lankan Lions.
After humiliating Sri Lanka by bowling out the neighboring nation on a total of 55 runs, India bamboozled second-placed South Africa with a 243-run win courtesy of Kohli’s record-equaling 49th ODI century while Jadeja took a 5-wicket haul dismissing the Proteas for a total of 83 runs.
After defeating the Netherlands with ease in a dead-rubber contest, India clashed against New Zealand in a replay of the 2019 World Cup semi-final and Rohit’s men laid down a target of 399 runs as Kohli scored his 50th ODI century while Shreyas Iyer also put a century to his name.
In the second innings, Shami claimed a 7-fer becoming the first Indian bowler to do so in a World Cup match and found a place for himself in a list of elite bowlers after crossing the 50-wicket mark in only 17 innings.
On the other hand, Australia started the tournament with two consecutive defeats against India and South Africa with the Proteas smacking 311 runs against Kangaroos while Cummins & Co. could only score 177 runs in response with Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj starring with the ball.
Adam Zampa’s 4-fer followed by half-centuries from Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis helped Australia seal their first win of the tournament which started a streak of eight wins and will now be tested against India on Sunday.
Next, David Warner and Marsh scored centuries on a batting-friendly Bengaluru pitch followed by another 4-fer by Zampa which deflated the Pakistan middle-order and sealed the match by a 62-run difference.
The fans then witnessed the fastest century in Cricket World Cup history as Glenn Maxwell scored 106 runs off 44 balls with Warner also scoring a ton while Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschgane scored a half-century each. In response, the Netherlands were too meek to chase a target of 400 runs and fell short by 309 runs.
What followed next was pretty much the match of the tournament as the Kangaroos posted 388 runs on the board boosted by Travis Head’s return who scored 109 runs off 67 balls while Warner, Maxwell, Inglis, and Cummins played the supporting cast. A century from Rachin Ravindra threatened Australia’s winning streak but the Kiwis fell five runs short in Dharamsala.
A 33-run win against England and an 8-wicket win against Bangladesh sandwiched a thriller match where Australia was 91/7 while chasing a target of 292 runs against Afghanistan and Maxwell once again stood tall and scored the first double century of ODI World Cup history as Cummins showed the resolve to stay on the pitch till the end.
In the semi-final, the five-time champions restricted South Africa to a total of 212 runs which could have been lesser if not for a century by David Miller and the Kangaroos’ middle order made a meal of the chase as they finally got over the line with 3 wickets and 15 balls in hand.
Virat Kohli is the current leading run-scorer of the 2023 ODI World Cup with 711 runs from 10 matches at an average of more than 101.
The former Indian skipper would be expecting more of the same on Wednesday as Kohli would be tasked with the job of inducing familiarity as he might be the only surviving figure from the playing XI of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup with Ravichandran Ashwin expected to sit out.
Jasprit Bumrah would be asked to lead out a bowling attack with much more experience than him as the Ahmedabad-born bowler has multiple variations up his sleeve which might compliment Kuldeep, Jadeja, Shami, and Siraj.
The fast bowler’s economy rate of 3.98 is the best among bowlers who have featured in more than one fixture in the ongoing tournament.
David Warner is the leading run-scorer of the Australian side and will have to put up a mountain of runs if Australia ends up batting first against a ferocious Indian bowling attack.
Glenn Maxwell has stood up and made his contributions count whenever his side has asked him and a slow surface in Ahmedabad might just aid his abilities. With a strike-rate of 150.18, Maxwell has compiled 398 runs in only 8 matches in the 2023 World Cup.
Josh Hazlewood offers a threat with the ball in hand as his ability to land the ball in the good-length area to trouble the Indian top order would be tested in the presence of a crowd roaring at full volume on Sunday.
Legacy on the Line
A sixth Cricket World Cup win would be desired by Cricket Australia while the Indian cricketing fans are hoping for a second World Cup trophy of the century.
After losing the 2023 ICC World Test Championship Final to Australia, India would be hoping to exact revenge with Sharma, Gill, Kohli, Jadeja, Siraj, and Shami also a part of the playing XI in the match that took place in June earlier this year.
In front of home fans, the Men in Blue would want nothing less than a win as the modern Australian team has the chance to cause an upset and etch their names in history if they conquer all three formats within a space of two years (2021 T20 World Cup, 2023 WTC, and the 2023 CWC).