2011 world champions India are going to take on the defending champions Australia in their second match of the ongoing ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup. The Australians registered a famous win in a 5-match ODI series in India, a few months ago, despite losing the first two games. That series marked the turnaround in Australia's ODI fortunes.
But now, the stakes are higher and both teams can't afford any mistakes. These sides are expected to reach the semis and are currently regarded as among the strongest in the tournament. So, it's going to be a very important, and in all likelihood, a very exciting match. The result of the contest may well depend on 5 factors. Let's look at and understand them.
Performance of Australian spinners
One of the reasons why Australia were able to triumph in India was the good performance by their spinners – Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon. So far, Australia have preferred to go in with just one specialist spinner in the form of Zampa. However, Lyon has had many great outings against India and may well be brought in to the team for this match. The question then arises: Will India be able to dominate the Australian tweakers or struggle against them? This may well be the key question because if Zampa and Lyon struggle, containing India in the middle overs would be nearly impossible and consequently, a big score by Kohli and co. would be inevitable.
Australia's defiance of 'KulCha'
The Australians came back from 2-0 down to win the series in India because their batsmen were putting up big scores. The reason why they did so was the negation of Indian spinners, who otherwise trouble teams in middle overs. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal didn't produce the kind of results in that series as they did against others. In fact, it was Ravindra Jadeja who stepped up to the challenge and booked his spot in the World Cup side. Once again the performance of the Indian wrist spin duo would be a very important factor in determining the result of the game. Australia seem to have an advantage because Steve Smith – their best batsman against spin – will further add to their efficiency against the turning ball. Can 'KulCha' hold their own against the Kangaroos? Or will India spring a surprise by bringing in Jadeja?
Managing the fifth bowler
Australia have chosen Marcus Stoinis as the all-rounder in the team. This gives him the role of fifth bowler. However, he is yet to prove his worth in that capacity. Glenn Maxwell is another player who can be handy with the ball. But whoever bowls the 10 overs belonging to this quota may well be targeted by the Indian batsmen. So, Aaron Finch will have to be very careful in the way he uses these bowlers. On the other hand, Stoinis was seen getting some tips from Malinga. This might be the match to use them effectively.
Though both the batting line-ups look strong and are capable of getting big scores, they both also evince some discomfort in dealing with good swing bowling. An early start means that there may be some help for new ball bowlers. However, that itself won't be enough if clouds don't come around to make the ball swing more. In that situation, the team that bats first may be under a huge disadvantage. The likes of Cummins and Starc can exploit the conditions for their team while Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar can do the same for India. So, watch out for weather and if it's overcast, the toss as well.
Australian lower order
The reason Australia were able to win their match against the West Indies was the great performance of their lower order. Compared to that, India's lower order looks rather weak. So, if the match is decided thanks to the runs scored by batsmen from no. 8 downwards, Aussies will have a huge advantage. However, India have the best death bowler in the world right now – Bumrah – to nullify that edge. Eventually, how well Indian bowlers deal with Australia's tail could be crucial.