Who: India vs Australia
Where: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, India
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When: Sunday, October 8, 2pm local time (08:30 GMT)
It’s a blockbuster opener for the Cricket World Cup hosts India, as the two-time winners take on five-time champions Australia.
India won the World Cup in 1983 and 2011 – the last time the tournament was played in India. Since then, they have only won one ICC event – the 2013 Champions Trophy in England – and India are looking to end their trophy drought at home.
Australia are the most successful ODI team, having won the 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015 competitions. They are the only side to win three successive ODI titles.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj are expected to lead India’s bowling attack on Sunday, with wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja as automatic choices. All-rounder Hardik Pandya fits in as the third pacer.
India’s batting lineup is the strongest on paper and consists of the veritable superstars of world cricket. Virat Kohli is on the verge of breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time ODI centuries’ record, while skipper Rohit Sharma wants to make up for missing out on the 2011 tournament.
“In the last few games [against Australia and at the Asia Cup], we have been challenged across different conditions and against different opposition,” Sharma said after the third ODI against Australia two weeks ago when India won the series 2-1.
“We have played really well in these games. We have a good squad and we understand how we want to use it during the World Cup. It will be about keeping our minds and bodies fresh across the next 1 1/2 months.”
Australian batsmen, however, have a rich experience of Indian conditions, and almost all of them are linked up with Indian Premier League franchises. David Warner, Steve Smith, Cameron Green, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell spend a lot of time playing in Indian conditions.
Pacers Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will lead the Australia bowling, while wrist-spinner Adam Zampa has enjoyed success in Indian conditions – 27 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 30.77.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins said on Saturday his team are content to go about their game “quietly”, in contrast to the ultra-aggressive style of earlier Australian sides.
“Our guys are pretty chilled out, so I am always proud saying the players out there in the field are similar to who they are off the field,” he said.
India will be missing batsman Shubman Gill, who has reportedly tested positive for dengue fever, so Ishan Kishan will likely open the batting alongside the captain, Sharma.
India’s predicted XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia are waiting on a fitness check for Marcus Stoinis ahead of their Sunday opener. The the all-rounder pulled up with a sore hamstring in the first game of Australia’s 2-1 series defeat in India last month.
“Stoinis is still touch and go,” Cummins said on Saturday. “He is going to have a run this afternoon. Probably will have to jump to through a few hoops and we’ll see.”
Australia’s predicted XI: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins (c).
Head to head
A total of 149 matches have taken place between India and Australia in the ODI format.
Australia have won 83 matches, while India have won 56 matches. Ten games ended without a result.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies