The match that was hailed to be match of the tournament and even bigger than the Finals is all set to get underway at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground with the pre-tournament favourites Australia taking on the in-form India for a place in the Finals to face New Zealand at MCG on March 29th. The rivalry is all set to continue after a two month break as India and Australia were playing each other in 4 Tests and an Carlton-Mid ODI Tri-Series in which India failed to win a single match. Here are the five things India should do to defeat Australia:
1. MS Dhoni should bat at number four:
Ideally, the best and the experienced batsman of the team should not bat below four so that the middle-order can revolve around him. In high pressure games, this strategy works the best and with respect to this, skipper Dhoni should and must bat at number four in this match.
So far in the tournament, Dhoni hasn’t been able to hit lusty blows at the end of the innings because now he is a different batsman. He needs some overs to settle down and once he gets in, it becomes easy to go for big shots. One more reason behind adding is this point is that Australian bowling lead by Mitchell Starc has been flawless with their line and length so, Dhoni seems to be the right man who can disturb their length.
2. Bang in bouncers to Maxwell and Clarke:
The above two batsmen have a weakness against short ball. Michael Clarke (L) gets out to the rising balls more often because of his back problem, which don’t allow his body to get in line for the pull shot. As for Maxwell, who is currently Australia’s highest run-getter in the tournament, the mistiming of his pull (when a perfect bouncer is bowled) can also land him into trouble. So, to stop both of them from scoring runs, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav should and must bang bouncers at them right from the first ball so that they don’t get time to settle down and in return, lose in their wicket.
3. Bowlers should stick to basics even if get rammed in first few overs:
Both Australian openers David Warner and Aaron Finch (R) possess the ability to destroy any bowling attack from the first over of the innings itself. So far in the tournament, both haven’t got any big partnership going but this doesn’t mean that the semi-finals will also not be their day so, even if they go after the Indian bowling in the first few overs, the likes of Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma should keep their cool and stick to what they have done throughout the tournament. Trying different lengths will hurt their chances of getting a wicket so, keeping it simple and bowling to their strengths like they have done till now will surely be the key to success.
4. Openers should try to bat for atleast first 15 overs:
This will be one of the most important factors that the team will look forward to in order to achieve a total of more than 320. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (R) have done reasonably well so far but it’ll be a different ballgame altogether when Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood will be bowling from the other end. Both of them should try to bat out for atleast first 15 overs so that it becomes relatively easy for them to score afterwards. Surely, Australian bowling will fight till the end but if India don’t lose a wicket early on, the pressure of the zero written in the wickets column of the scoreboard might start to get the better of Australian bowlers.
5. Keep their focus on the game itself:
The two teams have shared a tumultuous relationship both on and off the field in recent years and another flare-up can not be ruled out in front of packed Sydney Cricket Ground. But as for India, they should try not to indulge into verbal duels and just focus on playing hard cricket. Australians will especially try to single out Virat Kohli (L), who looses his cool quite often. But Kohli, who is due for a big knock, should place his focus on scoring a hundred and that too a big one and help his team secure a spot in the finals.
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