March 23, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - Quarter Finals 2: India Vs Australia

   After a lame first quarter finals effort by the Windies we move on to Ahmedabad for the next encounter which involves co-host India taking on the defending champions and four time winner Australia. Its the battle of the #1 ranked ODI team against the #2 ODI team. Yes, its HUGE!!! No matter how badly you want to ignore it you cant. Once again it will be tough to shift focus from statistics, records, support, dreams, desires to the actual on-field act. Which one of these two will go one step ahead to the final 4? The build up has already grabbed the attention across the cricket crazy folks.

Australia Report:
   Australia chasing yet another world cup victory and under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting this would be the third. The number that eluded even the great Clive Llyod and the indomitable Windies. Funny that, it was India that put an end to Lloyd's team in '83. Ozzies have worries of their own, they haven't been able to find a spinner who can do half the job Warney was capable of. But, then they did manage to win the world cup with Brad Hogg as their spin force. This cup being played in the cub-continent has emphasised the importance of spinners more than the earlier cups that Australia won quite easily. Already, they have faced the impact when the finally lost a world cup game to Pakistan. Afridi clearly used Rehman at the start with Gul and the fire & ice combo was just too much for the Ozzies. Add to that Afridi and Hafeez were capable enough to bowl 20 more tight overs to strangle them further. And the Lankans never tested them. Come the Indians in the quarters, the number of slower bowlers will only mount. Bowling has clearly been India's weakness, Ozzies can take a sigh of relief from that. They will need to be on top of them right from the start and let the home pressure do the rest. Ahmedabad has not been sweet to the Indians in the recent past and the team from down-under will hope that happens one more time in the Quarters. Ponting has shown a lot of faith  in Smith and Krejza but against the Indians he might still be tempted to go back to their default seam attack. Batting wise Ponting will want to send a strong message to all who believe he is in his farewell trip. Haddin Watson have done bulk of the scoring for them and the batting has never been pushed far enough, except against Pakistan where they came a cropper.

India Report:
   Sachin. Any report on India has to start with the mention of the not so little master. In fact, the saving face for Dhoni's boys has been that Sachin has looked in the pink of his form, cracking 2 centuries already against top sides. Unfortunately the results and the way the results have come for India has been a heart-break for their fans. Most believe that this time also the team will fall short of the goods. But, they will still cheer for every run scored, every wicket earned by the men in blue. The bowling will once again come under the scanner for the Indians playing against no push-overs, the #1 ODI team. Indians will be hoping the match does not stretch as far as 100 overs, and hopefully the end result is in their favor as well. Concerns in team selection does not seem to end at all. We are already in the knock-out phase of the tournament and India does not know who their starting xi will be. Even the bowling attack has changed in almost every game giving no certain picks before the crunch game. Once again selection issues will plague the team, whether Raina & Ashwin will retain their spots in the side. Batting in the death has really meant suicide for the team. Not so long ago they relished the final overs. So, it takes just one good match for fortunes to change. Dhoni will be hoping that day comes before their world cup journey ends. It will not be easy but, they  will have to take what ever comes their way and fight for glory. Pressure will mount at every pit stop during the match, this Aussie side is very much beatable. And that faith has to be restored in the team. There will be no excuses this time!

Watch Out For:  
  • Sachin-Sehwag Vs Lee-Tait
  • Ponting Vs Harbhajan
  • Hussey Vs Zaheer

   Man to man both teams are well matched. Its very hard to pick a winner. Its sure to get exciting in the second quarter finals. If Sachin-Sehwag get going, the front-line attack will be reduced to some college team in no time. Whether the Indian bowlers continue to suffer the treatment they have been receiving of late? Will the fate of India's batting in the death change? Or whether aussies will finally end a world cup in the quarter finals itself? Needless to say I would kill if required to get passes for the game. So, if anyone needs a hand to do the messy work. Leave a note in the comments section.

1 comment:

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