Prelude to the Finale of ICC World Cup 2015.....The Semi-Finals – II

Four of the best teams South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India have made it to the semi-finals of the 11th e of ICC World Cup 2015. The tournament had started off with 14 teams and now 4 teams will battle it out here on. The winners of the semi-finals will fight it out in the finals that will be held at Melbourne Cricket Grounds on 29th March, 2015.

The second semi-finals between India and Australia will be held today at Sydney on Sydney Cricket Grounds. After a dismal performance in the One Day Tri-series and Test series against Australia, Indians have bounced back at their game. Their performance and form in this tournament has been exactly the opposite. Dhoni and his boys seem to have found a new sense of direction, purpose and confidence. They stood on top of Pool B scoring 12 points after winning all their preliminary matches against Pakistan, South Africa, UAE, Ireland, West Indies and Zimbabwe. They defeated Bangladesh in the quarterfinals by 109 runs and have advanced to the semi-finals.

Australia finished second to the Kiwis in Pool A. They scored 9 points after wining to Scotland, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and England. They lost to New Zealand by a wicket and scored just a point for their abandoned match against Bangladesh. They defeated Pakistan in the quarterfinals by 6 wickets.

Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has amassed 367 runs in the tournament so far. Mohammed Shami’s overhaul of 17 wickets makes him the third best bowler in the tournament ranking. The Aussie batsmen have contributed with their bat now and then, but none of them features among the top 10 scorers. Mitchell Starc is their leading wicket taker with 18 wickets and is placed second in the list of best bowlers in the tournament.

Indians have been in Australia for over 4 months now and have well adapted to the conditions after playing Test cricket, One Days and Twenty20. Enthusiasm and energy of Indian supporters will throng the stadium and outweigh their Aussie counterparts. Indian openers and middle order batsmen have on separate occasions managed to chase or defend the total. Both Indians and Australians are super confident and have a robust unit. When they lock horns on 26th March, 2015, expect carnage on the cards.

After destroying the Proteans – one of the pre-tournament favourites, there is no reason why India cannot defeat Australia in their home ground. Australia is one of the strongest teams in the tournament and a favourite to win the World Cup, but looking at the formidable form of the defending champions are in, Indians have a chance of upsetting the Aussies and taking the Cup home for the second time.

The biggest worry of the Indian squad was injuries, but Indian players have responded well to that. They are looking fit as a fiddle and menacing. They have managed to bowl their opponents in every match in this tournament so far. One of the bowlers from the opposition – Mitchell Johnson is looking completely out of sorts, which is good news for the Indian batting line-up. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazzlewood are players whom Indian batsmen need to be wary off. Sydney Cricket Ground is a spin-friendly track and Indians can create that niggling worry in the Aussie dressing room. It is a well-known fact that Aussies are not so comfortable with spin bowling and Indians have a chance at that.

While the ‘Men in Blue’ will be looking to retain their crown, the ‘Baggy Greens’ will be looking to win their fifth World Cup Trophy. Well, the semi-final between India and Australia definitely promises to be a blockbuster event.

Anshuman Vardhan (have 91 posts in total)

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