One of the most decorated rivalries of modern ODI cricket takes centre stage at the Kennington Oval on Sunday as Australia and India battle it out in the ICC World Cup.
Defending Champions Australia have started the tournament in the right mode, winning both their games. India started with a tenacious win over South Africa and both sides will look to keep their momentum going.
This will be the 12th World Cup match between these two sides, the most any two sides have ever played.
Australia had no trouble dispatching Afghanistan (seven wickets), but were stretched by West Indies (15 runs). While David Warner (89* off 114) did the star turn against Afghanistan, it was Nathan Coulter-Nile (92 off 60) and Mitchell Starc (5 for 46) who led the charge over West Indies.
The Kangaroos struggled against the short ball in the match against the Windies, but will hope to have sorted that out. Captain Aaron Finch will hope that his top-order’s capitulation against the Caribbeans was an off day.
The Indians started the tournament late, but started with a bang. A six-wicket win over South Africa came on the back of impressive performances from Yuzvendra Chahal (4 for 51) and Rohit Sharma (122* off 144 balls). Indeed, most of the bowlers did well for India giving Virat Kohli’s side a good start.
Kohli would be eager to reclaim his own form, as the side targets a second win. With the tournament looking wide open as of now, India can’t afford to drop points and put their chances in peril. The bowlers – especially the spinners – will hope to get some purchase from the pitch and put the batsmen under trouble.
- India have won 12 of their last 13 World Cup matches, but their loss was to Australia in the 2015 World Cup semis.
- India have won nine of their last 13 ODIs.
- Australia have won their last ten ODIs, the last time they had won more consecutive games was in 2010.
- Australia have won eight of the 11 H2H World Cup matches and six of the last seven.
- Australia haven’t lost a World Cup match in England since May 1999 (W8, T1).
It’s a tough game to call but one area to focus on is Steve Smith, who loves playing against India. He averages 50.75 at SR of 98.22 against India for his 609 runs in 14 ODIs. With the form that he is in, he can top score again.
Prediction: Steve Smith – Top Australia runscorer ($3.75 MadBookie)