The winner will advance to Sunday’s final against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Things to be watched out in high voltage match of second semi-final of World Cup 2015.
Not a universally recognised term but widely known in cricket circles as a tactic used to distract an opposition player with banter or insulting comments, be it subtle, implied or obvious.
Australian teams are good at it. Recent series between Australia and England, and Australia and India have featured heated verbal exchanges, and players from those teams have been fined and sanctioned.
Australian opener David Warner is reported to be on his last warning before some kind of ban is imposed, and all-rounder Shane Watson conceded, on Wednesday, that he can’t be far off after being fined for his part in an angry episode in the quarterfinal win over Pakistan. Neither player wants to risk being suspended for the final, but Mitchell Johnson jokingly volunteered to take up the banter in the semi final against India.
“I don’t want to get fined again or get suspended so I know I’m going to have to be even more diligent with what I say, when I say it and how I say it,” Watson said. “Based on my last fine, I am just about on my last warning.”
Australian skipper Michael Clarke was asked if Warner’s attitude had changed since the International Cricket Council announced a crackdown on the sledging tactics for the World Cup.
“David will be fine. He knows the rules, as we all do,” Clarke said.
Virat Kohli has thrived in matches against Australia, with his combative style coming to the fore. He is one of three players in the India squad who featured in the World Cup final in 2011, so he knows all about the pressure of local expectations.
India is the only country to have won the Cricket World Cup title on home soil. Australia has won it in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, but failed miserably in 1992 the only previous time the tournament was staged in Australia and New Zealand.
“I’m sure they’ll be under massive pressure,” Kohli said in a television interview for Fox Sports. “I can understand, we played at home last time around and every ball, every player, every over that we played of any game was really nerve-wracking.”
Rohit Sharma expects there to be more blue shirts than yellow shirts in the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd for the semi final, with the number of India fans expected to far outweigh the number of hometown supporters.
“We’ve played in India a number of times and they out-support us there as well,” Clarke said. “We don’t need any more motivation. We know we’ve got the support of the Australian public. We’ve felt it the whole tournament, and we’ll feel it again tomorrow whether it’s 30 percent of the fans here or 50 percent of the fans.”
India has played Australia 14 ODIs at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1980 for only one win in 2008 although it has registered wins at the venue against England, New Zealand and Pakistan.
“I thought they would have had a better success rate at the SCG than that, so that does surprise me,” Clarke said.
Familiarity with conditions:
The India squad landed in Australia in November and went through a test series against the Aussies and a limited-overs tri-series against Australia and England without winning a match. India also lost a World Cup warm-up match to Australia before starting the tournament proper with a big win over archrival Pakistan which sparked a seven-game winning spree.
“When you’re away for four months, you definitely miss home, there is no doubt,” Sharma said. “But we are here on a mission and the mission is to win the World Cup. If you look at the way the last one and a half months has gone, it’s been really good, so we have to make the last four months we have spent here a reward by winning the semi finals and the finals. We don’t mind for staying away for five months that way.”
The Indian team has been in Australia for four months now and been through a lot of ups and downs. After being humiliated in the tri-series, they picked up the pace in the World Cup blazing into the semi-final with 7 consecutive wins. The defending champions will now take on Australia in the second semi-final of the 2015 World Cup on 26th March. It will be a feast for spectators to watch this epic clash between the defending champions and the four-time champions on Sydney Cricket Ground.
The stadiums have been full of Indian supporters during India’s matches, while surprisingly, empty seats have been visible during Australia’s matches. According to rumours, the Indian fans have bought 70% of the tickets and it will seem like a home away from home for MS Dhoni’s men.
Pitch and conditions:
ICC Cricket World Cup
India V Australia -26 March 2015 – day/night match (50-over match)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)
Matches won batting First: 82
Matches won bowling First: 61
Average scores recorded: 1st Inns – 218, 2nd Inns – 184
Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena and RA Kettleborough
TV umpire: M Erasmus
Match referee: RS Madugalle
Reserve umpire: RK Illingworth
India V Australia probable playing eleven(XI)
India (Playing 11): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohit Sharma, 11 Mohammad Shami.
Australia (Playing 11):1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Shane Watson, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
Australia beat India by 95 runs
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