Ahmedabad, Nov 18: India will meet Australia for the second time in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final on Sunday here at the Narendra Modi Stadium with an aim to avenge the painful loss of the 2003 marquee event.
In 2003, the Ricky Ponting-led Australian side defeated India in the finals of the ODI World Cup by 125 runs. It was a one-sided game as India never looked comfortable in the match.
However, the cricket landscape has undergone a significant transformation since then, with India emerging as a formidable force, consistently challenging and triumphing over Australia in recent years.
In the ongoing ODI World Cup, The Rohit Sharma-led side defeated Australia in the league when the two teams met each other last month in Chennai.
Australia started their ODI World Cup campaign with two straight losses but the journey of the Team from Down Under has been a tale of resilience and redemption. Despite stumbling in their initial encounters, the five-time champions regrouped and stormed through the tournament, showcasing their cricketing prowess.
Australia won 7 consecutive games to reach the semi-final before they defeated South Africa to qualify for the summit clash of the ongoing ODI World Cup. The man who has stood rock solid for Australia is Glenn Maxwell.
The star all-rounder has redefined aggression in the middle overs and has added a new dimension to Australia's batting following his heroics against Afghanistan.
If India needs to stop Maxwell, Kuldeep Yadav will be a key as the spinner has already dismissed the all-rounder previously in the World Cup. Moreover, Australians' weakness against spin has been exposed in the semi-finals against South Africa.
On the other hand, India's dominance in the ongoing ODI World Cup has been a result of team effort. Each and every player has risen to the occasion whenever required. While Virat Kohli (711 runs) has been in scintillating form, breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record, Mohammad Shami (18 wickets) has wreaked havoc with fiery spells.
The semi-final victory against New Zealand has just added the cherry on the cake as India broke the shackles by beating the Kiwis in a knockout game. In the match, Shami became the only Indian player to pick 7 wickets in a World Cup game.
India are on a 10-match winning streak but Australia has the experience of playing most ODI World Cup finals. The Men In Yellow are eyeing their sixth title win. Both teams have been sensational in the showpiece event with Australia peaking at the right time.
And if India wants to lift the coveted trophy for the third time in World Cup history, Shami has to again show his magic with the seam. The right handed pacer is a threat to left-handers and will be looking to target David Warner and Travis Head.
A perfect start from captain Rohit Sharma, then a cautious knock by Kohli and a late surge by KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will be needed to put on a good total on board if India bats first.
If Australia bats first, Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will have to put them on the backfoot with Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep spinning web over the Aussies. If India wins, it will become the only team to win two World Cup titles on home soil.
Now the stage is set for the biggest cricketing spectacle that promises exhilarating moments and a worthy culmination to what has been a blistering show of skills by teams. (IANS)