The big stage is set! The iconic Sydney Cricket Ground is all set to host the highly anticipated clash between the Indians and the hosts Australia. After five weeks of grueling action in this World Cup, both these sides will clash to play New Zealand in the all important finale.
The journeys of both the teams have been highly uncomplicated. The Indians have been ruling the roost and have been undefeated throughout the campaign. The hosts on the other hand have just lost one game. It was against co hosts New Zealand, which the Aussies lost in a nail biting contest. Both the teams are determined to beat each other, and book their tickets to Melbourne.
In this article, we have a look at the 5 Things Australians must do to beat Team India –
1. Get Kohli cheaply:
Virat Kohli has been one intimidating force within himself. His ability to score runs at a hemorrhaging rate has been outstanding. Kohli commenced the World Cup in style, by scoring a free flowing ton against arch rivals Pakistan.
Since then, Kohli has mellowed down and not been among the big runs. Against the Australians he is due for a big score. It is often the high profile games, which get him going. Thereby, it is critical for the Aussies to get him cheaply. The best way to do so is bowling on the channel outside the off stump. Kohli is not the one who shies away from driving. Bowling on the fourth stump line may cost the Aussies a few boundaries, but it is the best way to get Kohli.
2. Build in the middle overs:
The middle overs often dictate the eventual outcome of the game. The side dominating the middle overs, is more likely to be triumphant. As a consequence, it becomes highly imperative for the teams to win the middle over stage. The Australians need to take care of this big time. They have explosive openers in their arsenal, who can provide them with a rollicking start. Their middle order looks set as well, with Smith, Clarke and Watson positioned.
The three middle order batsmen will have to keep the scoreboard moving and rotate the strike. Doing so will add a massive burden on the Indians, and it will not allow their spinners to settle. More than anything else, it will set the platform for Maxwell and Faulkner, to explode from the word go.
3. Attack the weaknesses of Indian batsmen:
The Indian batting lineup is highly celebrated for its performances. But it has its fair dose of hiccups along with it. A few Indian batsmen have clear weaknesses, which the Kangaroos can exploit.
Shikhar Dhawan struggles when he is cramped for room. The likes of Hazlewood and Starc can target the middle stump line and frustrate Dhawan. Too many dot balls would lead Dhawan to play a false stroke, leading to his dismissal. Rohit Sharma too has a clear weakness. Early on, he is very lazy and does not get to the full pitch of the ball. He tends to lazily poke, towards the ball outside off. Hazlewood can target this line, and make life tough for Sharma.
Suresh Raina’s woes with the short ball are well known. Mitchell Johnson can bang the ball short in excess of 145 km/hr. The short balls make Raina a very vulnerable target.
4. Attack Jadeja:
Ravindra Jadeja by far has been India’s weakest link with the ball. When Jadeja is taken for runs early, he tends to struggle and loses his rhythm. That makes life easy for the batsmen. However, when he strikes early, he is like a lion who roars louder each time. It is crucial for the Kangaroos to take a cue from this and attack Jadeja from the outset. Attacking him from the start will upset not just his mindset, but even MS Dhoni’s rhythm.
The likes of Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell have had great success against Ravindra Jadeja. In matches when Jadeja bowls to Maxwell, the Aussie averages 41.33 with the bat at a Strike rate of 152.14. That is some stat worth having.
The Australians have been vocal about their thoughts on sledging and have made it clear that they would not back down. Playing mind games is really crucial, when it comes down to winning the main battle. Winning the mind games, gives the team a massive competitive advantage. The Australians traditionally have been a successful sledging side. Their strategy of sledging has reaped them great dividends in the past helping them get into the mind of the opposition.
Sledging could instigate the Indians to play shots in a rush of blood and this could lead to their downfall. In the test series, Mitchell Johnson sledged Virat Kohli. Within the span of a few balls, Kohli made two errors, but unfortunately both his dolly catches were put down. However, Johnson was successful in creating the chances. It is a tried and tested ploy and the Aussies never back down from a bit of a verbal spat, do they?
The success of the Australians will depend greatly upon how they consider these five factors. If they successfully settle in to these issues, then they may well be facing New Zealand on the 29th to fight for the 2015 World Cup trophy.