Anticipation soars as Chepauk prepares to welcome a clash of champions with feverish excitement.

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Anticipation soars as Chepauk prepares to welcome a clash of champions with feverish excitement.

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As the cricketing world eagerly awaits the commencement of the World Cup, one burning question looms large: Is it better for tournament favorites to face a relatively ‘weaker’ team in their opener, or should they tackle their toughest challenge head-on? This is a dilemma that plagues the minds of captains, coaches, and fans alike.

On a scorching Sunday afternoon, India and Australia will confront this quandary headfirst as they clash at the iconic MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. This historic venue hasn’t witnessed an India-Australia World Cup showdown in this century, but the memories of the thrilling 1987 encounter, won by the Kangaroos by a mere 1 run, still resonate, promising an epic spectacle.

Recent encounters between these two cricketing giants have witnessed fluctuations in fortune. In a bilateral series just two weeks ago, Australia grappled with injuries, but now, it’s India’s turn to face adversity as Shubman Gill’s participation hangs in the balance due to Dengue fever.

Reports have circulated, suggesting that Gill may miss Sunday’s clash. However, India’s camp has maintained a veil of secrecy, with Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid hinting at a possible surprise inclusion. Even with Gill’s absence, India remains a marginal favorite, bolstered by the home advantage, while Australia draws confidence from their previous triumph at the same venue seven months ago.

For veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, this match is a grand homecoming, marking his return to ODI cricket in Chennai after an 11-year hiatus. Ashwin’s inclusion in the squad raised eyebrows, but his performance in recent ODIs silenced critics. He knows the Chepauk wicket like the back of his hand and seems to possess a mental edge against the Australians, as evidenced in the recent ODI series.

  • Ravichandran Ashwin’s potential homecoming
Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/

The outcome of this game could hinge on how Ashwin performs on his home turf. Australia, coming off a 3-5 record in their last eight ODIs, must address their tendency to suffer collapses during their innings. While some collapses haven’t been fatal, such lapses can be costly in a fiercely competitive event like the World Cup.

  • Australia’s tendency to collapse (across phases and conditions)
Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/
Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, who has a stellar record against Indian spinners, could hold the key to their success. His ability to dominate the likes of Jadeja, Ashwin, and Kuldeep in ODIs could prove pivotal.

Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/
Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/

Despite Chepauk’s reputation as a spinner’s paradise, recent statistics favor pacers. However, the last India-Australia clash in Chennai saw spinners claim the majority of wickets. For Maxwell, who has struggled against short balls from pacers, India might consider using this tactic to unsettle him.

Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/

Ravindra Jadeja could be introduced early if Australia’s Mitch Marsh gets off to a flyer, given Jadeja’s history of containing Marsh.

Credit By Photo: /www.cricket.com/

Probable XI

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Australia: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

In the quest for World Cup glory, both India and Australia are poised to offer cricket fans a thrilling contest that will set the tone for their respective campaigns. The outcome of this clash of titans will be determined by the performance of key players and their ability to adapt to Chepauk’s conditions. Cricket enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await this showdown, hoping for an exhilarating start to the tournament.

Reference

https://www.cricket.com/news/icc-world-cup-2023-india-vs-australia-preview-1072023-1696685038460

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