A lot of people would have liked to have this fixture one stage later; but Australia will take on hosts India in the quarter-finals at Ahmedabad. Australia suffered a big defeat against Pakistan in their last match and looked circumspect against spin. India, on the other hand, depended- yet again- on the opposition batsmen’s loss of concentration in the last 15-20 overs with Zaheer still the only weapon in the arsenal. However, the teams’ relative vulnerabilities could just be the perfect catalyst to make this an enthralling encounter.
Most runs scored
Yuvraj’s century in the last game has added to the powerhouse that that Indian top order is. However, when Sehwag returns, there is bound to be an imbalance again and the lower middle order will look thin. Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan have been poor for India in that middle order and the BIG sting that the middle order was touted to have has been merely words. India’s batting has solely depended on the top 4 this tournament and Australia will know that. The top order decides everything in this match.
It is a similar situation for Australia with White failing and Smith getting very little batting practice which makes them vulnerable if they lose early wickets. However, it is highly unlikely that White will feature in this match and David Hussey might be picked. Nevertheless, the run getting will be up to Watson, Haddin and Clarke who are the in-form batsmen. Ponting is still rusty and India never lets a rusty Ponting get any slack. Michael Hussey will hold the batting together.
Available odds: Tendulkar/Sehwag @ 4.33; Gambhir @ 5.50; Kohli @ 6.00; Yuvraj @ 6.50; Watson @ 3.75; Haddin/Ponting @ 5.00; Clarke @ 5.50; Hussey @ 6.50
that_guy’s picks: Gambhir @ 5.50; Clarke @ 5.50
India has had a poor tournament bowling-wise. Zaheer Khan has had too much rescuing to do in the death overs and had it not been for him, India would have well been out of the world cup. Munaf Patel’s status as a “promising fast bowler” when he was selected for the first time, about 5-6 years ago, has still stayed. He still remains a “promising” bowler who hasn’t backed his opportunities well enough. Harbhajan Singh has the worst figures for a regular spinner in this tournament. The only shining light as far as the bowling is concerned is that Dhoni finally woke up from his slumber to choose Ashwin.
Australia have had quite the opposite experience with their bowling. They are still the best bowling line-up in this tournament and their pace bowling has devastated their opponents. Lee looks like the one we saw at the 2003 world cup. Tait has blown hot and cold, but he’s had a decent tour. Mitchell Johnson has been absolutely fantastic. These three are Australia’s keys to demolishing that crumbling middle order that India has.
Available odds: Zaheer/Harbhajan @ 3.75; Ashwin/Munaf @ 5.50; Yuvraj @ 6.00; Lee @ 3.25; Johnson/Tait @ 4.00; Krejza @ 6.00
that_guy’s picks: Harbhajan @ 3.75; Johnson @ 4.00
I’m afraid Australia have a bitter run at the end of their record winning streak. A 2nd loss in the row looks imminent as there just seems to be no clue about spin in that batting. India have a weak bowling but this is a game against Australia and they will be fired up for it. India to just pull it off, me thinks.
Available odds: India @ 1.73; Australia @ 2.10
that_guy’s pick: India @ 1.73
[All odds taken from 888sport