Cricket World Cup 2019: India look to exorcise the ghosts of 2015 against Australia

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Two teams with a spicy history between them take the field in London as an upbeat India face a gritty Australian side in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Virat Kohli’s men will look to build on their convincing win over South Africa, while Australia attempt to make it three wins from three after beating West Indies in a thriller.

There’s no love lost between the two teams, who have consistently battled at the top for two decades. We look ahead to the big game.

Will ghosts of 2015 haunt India?

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

A Steve Smith led Australian side dominated India and dumped them out of the World Cup in the 2015 semi-finals. The Aussies set India a target of 329 runs and won the game by a massive 95 runs.

Smith is now back from a one-year ban and if his performance against West Indies is anything to go by, the former skipper has shown that he could be the resolute batsman Australia need to anchor the innings should they suffer from another top-order collapse.

Meanwhile, India will be eyeing retribution as they look to bury the ghosts of the humiliating defeat in Sydney four years ago.

India’s spin-attack could rattle the Aussies

Chahal

Chahal

The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are fresh from their demolition of South Africa’s middle-order. The pair picked up five wickets, with Chahal claiming a four-wicket haul.

The ball was turning brilliantly for Chahal in particular and it was his first spell that took the game away from the Proteas.

In the last innings played at the Oval, spinners claimed six of the eight wickets as Bangladesh failed in their attempts to keep New Zealand from reaching a target of 245. Should the Indian spinners pick up from where the Bangladeshis left off, Australia could be in big trouble.

The Aussies have Adam Zampa in their ranks but are likely to be more reliant on pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who are enjoying a great start to their World Cup.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Jason Roy floors umpire after reaching ton against Bangladesh

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Jason Roy of England collides with umpire Joel Wilson.

Jason Roy hit a punishing century as England piled on 386-6  for six against Bangladesh in Cardiff, their highest World Cup total and the top score of the tournament.

England were searching for a response after their surprise defeat to Pakistan and Roy provided it, clubbing his way to 153 in 121 balls including five of the side’s 14 sixes.

The Surrey opener had just hit a new gear when he fell, miscuing Mehidy Hasan to extra cover after slamming his three previous deliveries into the stands.

Roy and Jonny Bairstow quickly caught up after a careful start, reaching 67 without loss after the 10-over powerplay. Roy was the primary aggressor, driving straight and hard and pulling with authority.

Roy never looked likely to throw away his start, ruthlessly punishing errors in length, and was gifted his hundred by a misfield in the deep. As he watched the ball slam against the rope he charged unwittingly into umpire Joel Wilson, who landed heavily and needed a moment to compose himself.

Having helped him to his feet, Roy finally got round to celebrating. With a ninth international ton in the bank he upped the ante, tearing into the spinners as he moved from 100 to 150 in 28 balls.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli v Mitchell Starc and other blockbuster clashes as India take on Australia

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It promises to be a high-voltage 2019 World Cup clash in London on Sunday when defending champions Australia take on India.

Australia had to dig deep to taste victory after being reduced to 38-4 against West Indies in their previous game. Australia’s top order was blown away by Windies quicks and it took a stunning 92 from quick Nathan Coulter-Nile to put up an ultimately winning score of 288.

India arrive in London high on confidence after thumping South Africa by six wickets. India’s bowlers and batsmen gave South Africa no breathing space in Southampton and will be pleased with the effort of their entire squad.

Ahead of the super showdown, we take a look at three key clashes that could shape the contest.

VIRAT KOHLI v MITCHELL STARC

Top batsman against a top fast bowler. It can’t possibly get more enticing than this. Virat Kohli will have a point to prove after getting out cheaply against South Africa – where Rohit Sharma lead the way with an unbeaten century. But the India captain can’t be kept quiet for long in 50-over cricket. While Australia have a lethal pace bowling line-up, Kohli will be looking to fight fire with fire and make a statement early in the tournament against a team that tends to bring the best out of him.

And looking to stop Kohli in his tracks will be Aussie pace ace Mitchell Starc. The left-arm quick sent out a warning to all batsmen in the opening game with his bustling spell against the Windies, where he finished with five wickets. He is bowling quick and getting late swing, making it almost impossible to survive against him, let alone score.

JASPRIT BUMRAH V DAVID WARNER

Another blockbuster clash between two players in excellent form. South Africa struggled to put bat to ball against Bumrah as the ace India quick got the ball to bend around corners and forced the batsmen on the backfoot. He is one bowler who is absolutely on top of his game and will be a nightmare to negotiate if the pitch has even a little bit in it.

Australia will be banking on David Warner to unsettle Bumrah up front. If the Aussies just allow Bumrah to do his thing, the Indians will be all over the defending champions. Australia have played India enough to recognise the threat Bumrah poses. Warner knows if Bumrah can be taken out of the equation, the rest of India’s bowling can be handled. Australia, after all, won a closely fought ODI series in India earlier this year.

Jasprit Bumrah.

Jasprit Bumrah.

HARDIK PANDYA v GLENN MAXWELL

Two of the most dynamic all-rounders in world cricket. There is very little that both Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell can’t do on a cricket field. They can change the complexion of the match with the bat, ball and in the field. And both play the crucial role of fourth/fifth bowler and hard-hitting lower order batsman.

While India will be relying more on Pandya’s seamers to support the two main quicks, Australia will ask Maxwell to take more responsibility with the bat after his rash pull shot against the West Indies almost lost them the game in the opening hour.

Both can win the game on their own as the two are blessed with that rare quality – ‘x-factor’.

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