India start WC campaign in crackajack faceoff

Chennai, (UNI) After getting drunk on India hauling up 100-plus medals at the Asian Games 2023 underway in Hangzhou, the cricket-crazy nation is fast preparing to taste the elixir of their favourite sport as they await with bated breath the crackajack faceoff between India and Australia in their World Cup opener at the iconic MA Chidambaram stadium here on Sunday.

Though Australia have an obvious advantage head-to-head, having won 83 games to 56 losses, India’s recent form makes things even. They won the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka last month and then beat Australia 2-1 at home.

The two sides are well acclimatised with the conditions and the players in their opposing ranks. The two sides played at Chennai in March this year, and it was a close contest which was won by Australia.

Given the nature of the wicket, spinners from both sides are expected to come into play. While India have Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in their spin department, Australia will bank on Adam Zampa’s leg-spinners with some support from Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.

While India are waiting on the fitness of Shubman Gill, Australia await on all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

Much of India’s success at home will be dependent on the incisive starts provided by their new-ball bowlers. Despite the injury which kept him out of action for almost an year, Bumrah returns as the leader of India’s pace attack.

A good start in Chennai will help Bumrah get into the groove for the remainder of the tournament.

India would hope that the fast bowler with an experience of 129 ODI wickets lifts them in the same manner that veteran pacer Zaheer Khan did during their successful 2011 campaign.

Australia replaced Ashton Agar with Labuschagne ahead of their Cricket World Cup campaign. This means that Zampa will be the lone lead spinner for the side.

A natural wicket-taking option, Zampa concedes over five and a half runs per over but has a strike-rate of 31.5 in the format. The leggie has 34 ODI wickets against India.

His best against the hosts came in Chennai earlier this year, and helped Australia take the ODI series 2-1 in March. On that occasion, he had picked 4/45. Zampa succeeded against Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja.

Australia would hope for a similar run.



Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.


Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.

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