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Great expectations

After the humdinger at Auckland, the attention of the cricketing world will now shift to Sydney, where India takes on Australia for a place in the final. Both teams come into this match on the back of solid performances. Playing at home, it is no great surprise to see Australia at the semi-final stage. They entered the World Cup after a comfortable victory in a tri series, which included India and England. Besides, it is also important to note that Australia is the No.1-ranked side in the One Day International format. India, however, had a poor Australian summer, where they failed to win a single match, both in the Test and ODI tri-series. Despite its failures prior to the tournament, Team India has performed exceptionally well in the World Cup thus far.

The turnaround, one could argue, has been nothing short of absolute. The famed batting line up has clicked and India’s bowlers have displayed tremendous skill and discipline. The question, coming into this tournament, was whether Team India had the fast bowlers to succeed in these conditions.

Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma have collectively answered that in the affirmative. In addition, R Ashwin has begun to spin the ball and take wickets. Team India’s fielding has been stellar so far with Kohli, Jadeja, Rahane, and Raina leading the young brigade. And unlike Australia, Team India walk into this match undefeated in the World Cup. Australia, though, have come out all guns blazing. They seem to have established a fairly stable batting line up, with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch and David Warner scoring a century each. With the ball, however, much will depend on whether fast bowler Mitchell Johnson can fire, after a relatively barren tournament. Australia, however, has another fast bowler in Mitchell Strac, who has been in top nick.

Much of the match may depend on how much swing he can extract out of the pitch. There is no doubt that Australia come into this match as favourites. Only once in 13 complete ODIs have Australia lost to India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  In a match of this magnitude, however, one can safely throw the form book away.  We should be in for a cracker.
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