The 2023 World Cup is set to enter its final chapter after offering everything it can in 45 days. From New Zealand’s thumping win over champions England in the opener to Australia’s entry in the final for a record-stretching eighth time, fans have so many memories to cherish.
Now the focus shifts to the summit clash between tournament hosts India and the five-time champions Australia. Both teams have made a big impact in this tournament and are likely to give their best at Narendra Modi Stadium to get their hands on the silverware.
Australia’s last World Cup triumph came in 2015 where they beat India in the semis. Six players from the 2015 team are still part of the current teams, including captain Pat Cummins and veterans David Warner and Steve Smith. Australia have ticked all the boxes in the last few games, including a much-needed boost to their blowing performance in the semi-final but are they fully prepared to take on the invincible Indian side?
India were always favourites to reach the final having recently claimed the Asia Cup title, no.1 rankings across all three formats, and due to home advantage. But very few had imagined an utter dominance from the Indian team which has produced ten consecutive victories without much trouble.
Virat Kohli‘s record-shattering hundreds, Rohit Sharma‘s impressive starts, and Shreyas Iyer’s balanced knocks have highlighted India’s batting performances while Mohammed Shami‘s sensational run with 23 wickets in six innings has been the biggest contribution to the team’s road to the final.
India did beat Australia in the group game by six wickets and also triumphed in the previous World Cup encounter in 2019. But that doesn’t hide their lack of success against Australia in the knockouts. Australia famously beat India in the 2003 final, 2015 semi-final and the WTC Final in June this year.
So, it will be interesting to see how the Men in Blue break their knockout hoodoo against Australia which boasts an unbelievable record in the ICC finals.
Players in focus:
It has been an impressive all-round performance from the Indian side throughout the tournament but Shubman Gill is yet to play a match-winning knock. He has scored 350 runs in eight innings with four fifties, including 80* runs against New Zealand in the semi-final. Gill has a fantastic chance to bring his maiden ODI World Cup hundred having impressive records at Narendra Modi Stadium. He will be under the scanner for making an impact in the final with a lot of expectations from the home fans on Sunday.
For Australia, Adam Zampa will be under the focus and his performance will play a key role in Australia’s result tomorrow. Zampa has been excellent for Australia with 22 wickets so far and produced his best performance in Ahmedabad during Australia’s 33-run win over England. Zampa took three wickets for 21 in his ten overs at the same venue and will be a big threat for India on Sunday.
The venue offers a balanced surface and there is no forecast for rain on Sunday. The average first innings score here is 237 in 32 ODI matches with teams batting first winning 17 games. However, a used pitch is scheduled for the final game which can offer some help to spin attack. Pat Cummins has already highlighted the importance of the pitch which he termed a ‘good wicket’ for the final clash.
Possible Playing XIs:
Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood