Time: 9:00 am IST
Date: 25th March
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Spin friendly Sydney will be flooded with spectators on Thursday as hosts Australia prepare to take on defending champions India in a mammoth semi final clash in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. With a spot in the final on the cards, the competition just doesn’t get bigger.
Around a month ago, Australia ruthlessly thrashed India across all formats to leave the men in blue in a sorry state prior to the world cup. Forwarding the exact period now, the two former world champions are set to face off once again and this time though, the men in blue have turned around the tables like never before. But, in the form Clarke and co are in, the Aussies may really not have much to worry about. From Warner at the top right down to Hazelwood below, the Australians boast of match winners who have shown their likeliness to rise to the big games in this world cup. Apart from the narrow loss to the Kiwis, the Kangaroos have pretty much dominated every other encounter and will look to do the same against an unpredictable Indian side. There will be plenty of sledging as promised and the Aussies are up for the task with their tails up.
Seven consecutive wins puts India in a formidable position against any opposition. The Men in Blue have justified the tags of favorites by playing outstanding cricket over the last month. However, they are yet to face an opposition as big as the mighty Aussies and hence this will be a real acid test for MS and co. Similar to Australia, India too depend on their top order batsmen to sail through rough weathers. Dhawan, Sharma and Kohli have done just that and need an encore on Thursday. The bowling department too seems solid with 3 frontline pacers in form and Shami will lead the pack once again. Owing to their recent tri series outing, India will know the conditions well beforehand enhancing their chances at securing a second consecutive finals spot in the world cup.
X Factor – Spin friendly Sydney, as the name suggests may just suit India’s ever present part timers. Apart from Ashwin and Jadeja, Dhoni might opt for Raina or Sharma too to fill in for some overs . However, the case is reverse for the hosts. They just boast of one part timer in the name of Maxwell and hence will look to use him effectively. Will their lone specialist spinner in Doherty play? Or will the Kangaroos stick to an all guns blazing pace attack once again is left to be seen
The ICC World Cup Match will be shown live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1, while the live-streaming will be available on Starsports.com in the sub-continent.
Those in the UK can see it live on Sky Sports 2 which has been telecasting as Sky Sports World Cup. For live streaming, they can access Sky Go.
Live Score: www.icc-cricket.com
India (likely): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma.
Australia (from): David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Marsh, Pat Cummins, George Bailey