Australia or India - who will reach the World Cup final? Where the game will be won and lost

Ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-final, Osman Samiuddin argues why Australia will win, while Dileep Premachandran explains why he's backing India.
If Glenn Maxwell, centre, tees off it could spell bad news for India  Saeed Khan / AFP
If Glenn Maxwell, centre, tees off it could spell bad news for India Saeed Khan / AFP

Ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-final, Osman Samiuddin argues why Australia will win, while Dileep Premachandran explains why he’s backing India.

AUSTRALIA WILL WIN IF...

Mitchell Starc bowls as he has done throughout the tournament He has been outstanding, not just with those yorkers but with everything else. He has bowled at pace, he has not let batsmen score and in every spell he has looked like taking a wicket. India score big at the death; Starc strikes big at the death.

David Warner makes a big score Other than the massive 178 against Afghanistan, Warner has had an infuriating tournament. He has had three starts but the hundred apart, has not gone beyond 34. Instead he has found ways to get out, the latest that flap to third man against Pakistan. Glenn Maxwell and others have masked the deficit but Warner needs to fire.

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Glenn Maxwell brings the big show He has brought it all tournament with the bat. His contribution against Pakistan was not massive, but it was a vital innings, to finally and comprehensively deflate Pakistan’s attack. He picked up two wickets, too, but against India, it is unlikely such freebies will be on offer. His overs, in fact, will be crucial to the outcome.

Josh Hazlewood continues with the Glenn McGrath impersonation. OK, so he is a different kind of bowler. But he does find that off-stump channel and, if conditions are right, gets it to move away. It is precisely the kind of fast bowling that so often can undo batsmen from the subcontinent, even those as accomplished as India’s.

INDIA WILL WIN IF...

Virat Kohli returns to form. Few live for the big moments quite like he does. Four centuries in the Tests against Australia over the southern summer. Another in a World Cup match against Pakistan watched by hundreds of millions. He is due.

The pitch is anything similar to the one South Africa and Sri Lanka played on and spin plays a part Australia’s front-line slow bowler in this tournament is Glenn Maxwell. India have Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, both magnificent in strangling England in the Champions Trophy final.

MS Dhoni does well Michael Clarke and Brendon McCullum are more inventive leaders. Dhoni has an incredible sense of occasion and the medals to show for it. Dhoni’s instincts have seldom let him, or India, down.

Crowd supports India. Check the tweets from Clarke and David Warner. Australia go into this game knowing that their “home crowd” will mostly be cheering for India. The blue tidal wave in the stands helped swamp South Africa.

They are not be reminded of the summer of struggle Before and during this tournament, India have constantly been reminded of how they failed to win a Test or ODI in the tour that preceded the World Cup. A couple of the Australian players have mentioned it, too. As Ravi Shastri, the team director, has repeatedly stressed, India are only interested in the last laugh.

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Published: March 25, 2015 04:00 AM

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