Ahmedabad, Nov 19: The journey of 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup will culminate with a highly-anticipated title clash between two-time winners, hosts India and five-time champions Australia. This will be the second time Australia and India will be meeting in a Men’s ODI World Cup final and if numbers are to go by, then the power-play battle will be key to acing the final.
As per the numbers supplied by Cricket-21.com, both India and Australia have been the best sides with the bat in the first ten overs. India have a strike-rate of 114.5 at a run-rate of 6.9, while Australia have a strike-rate of 109.2 at a run-rate of 6.5.
India’s surge in the first ten overs with the bat is mainly propelled by captain Rohit Sharma’s aggressive starts. Sharma’s high-attacking starts with the bat have unsettled opponents’ bowling line-up, playing a big hand in India's ten-match winning streak at the World Cup.
Though his World Cup began with a duck against Australia in Chennai, Sharma has made 354 runs at an average of 88.5 and strike-rate of 133, hitting 42 fours and 21 sixes with a boundary percentage of 83.05%.
“Honestly, before the start of the World Cup, I do wanted to play in a certain manner. I had no idea that it is going to come off or what if it doesn't come off. I had plans for both, if it comes off what I'm going to do in the next game, if it doesn't come off what I'm going to do in the next game.”
“For me what is important is because I start the innings, there is a bit of freedom there for me to go and express myself but you must have seen in that game against England where I had to change my game a little bit once we lost a few wickets and then I had to change my game a little bit. I'm prepared to do that as well.”
“That is what the experienced player needs to do. You can't just think that you have to play one way. You have to adapt quickly and knowing the situations that are there in front of you. So, I am prepared to do whatever role I feel at that point is right for the team. So, I have prepared my game, prepared my tactics around that.”
“So, I am pretty clear in what I want to do as a batsman. You know when you play on good pitches, you sometimes you get that feeling that it's a good pitch, you can take on the bowlers. Sometimes if you see the ball is just nipping around a little bit, you need to try and understand what are your thoughts then. So, I'm prepared to take all of this thought into the game and then go about it,” said Rohit on his batting approach on the eve of the final.
Apart from Rohit, talismanic batter Virat Kohli will be key to India’s fortunes with the bat, being leading run-scorer of the competition with 711 runs. Kohli has been equally good against both pace (414 runs at an average of 69) and spin (297 runs while being out to them only once).
With the ball, India have been the most economical side with the ball in first ten overs, conceding at 4.3 runs per over, compared to 4.8 runs per over for Australia. Moreover, their pacers have been the best-performing unit in this World Cup, taking 62 wickets at an average of 19.8.
When it comes to power-play, India’s pacers have taken 20 wickets at an average of 20.70 and an economy rate of 4.27. For India, fast-bowler Mohammed Shami has lit up the tournament with his thrilling match-winning spells, claiming 23 wickets in just six outings at an astonishing average of 9.1.
As per a statistic from Sportradar in the ICC Online Media Zone, coming as a first-change bowler, Shami has particularly been impactful in causing an immediate breakthrough in powerplays, taking eight wickets at an average of 6.6 and strike-rate of 8.3.
His figures against left-handed batters is even more staggering, picking eight wickets at an average of four and an economy rate of 3.7. Shami will be key in countering Australia’s left-handed opening pair of David Warner and Mitchell Marsh, who do take an aggressive approach against pace in powerplays, with their strike-rate in this phase at 107.5.
Apart from an attacking Travis Head, Warner has been in sublime form in this World Cup so far, accumulating 528 runs at an average of 52.8 with a strike-rate of 107.5. He has been particularly aggressive against right-arm seamers, making 228 runs against them at an average of 45.6 and strike-rate of 118. His match-up against Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj will be one to watch out for.
In terms of middle-overs batter, India's spinners – Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin - had reduced Australia from 74/1 to 140/7 picking six wickets for 104 runs in their combined 30 overs in the tournament opener in Chennai. Kuldeep and Jadeja have been formidable in giving India the desired control in middle-overs.
Jadeja’s economy rate in this World Cup is at 4.25, while for Kuldeep, it is at 4.32. It will be a match-up to watch out for as Australia’s batters facing spinners has been a mixed bag in this World Cup. Warner and Maxwell have been out to spin thrice in the tournament, but have a strike-rate of 101.3 and 150.3 respectively.
Mitchell Marsh has been out to them once, but has a strike-rate of 94. Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith have been dismissed by spinners four and five times in this World Cup, clocking a strike-rate of 50.5 and 27.4 respectively. Travis Head and Josh Inglis have been out to spinners twice, and recorded a strike-rate of 39.5 and 28.5 respectively.
Likewise, Australia’s leg-spinner Adam Zampa will be key, having taken 22 scalps so far. He has done extremely well against right-handers (averaging 15.8 at a strike-rate of 17.8) compared to left-handers (averaging 40.6 at a strike-rate of 42.8), implying that he’s an excellent matchup to challenge India’s right-hander heavy line-up, including dismissing Kohli five times in ODIs.