The 6TH ODI between India and Australia will take place on Wednesday at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in Nagpur, with India finding themselves in a must-win situation in order to avoid a series defeat. A victory for Australia will give them an unassailable lead in the series, while a victory for India would level the series with the seventh and final ODI game to decide the winner.
India have played good cricket in the series but would still be reeling from the bowling performance that saw them squander the match at Mohali last to last Saturday. After the two consecutive games with no-result, first at Ranchi due to the wash-out and then at Cuttack without a ball being bowled, India suddenly find themselves in a precarious situation and would need to step-up to the challenge that lies ahead in the remaining two games.
For Nagpur, India are expected to stick to the same Playing XI as that during the 4th ODI at Ranchi. India’s biggest concern from the game at Ranchi though would be their poor and sloppy fielding effort, which saw them put down as many as five catches. The biggest positive for India from the game at Ranchi would be the performance of the youngster Mohammed Shami, who ended up with figures of 3-42 from his 8 overs. India last played an ODI game at Nagpur in October 2007, a game that they narrowly lost in a stiff run chase against the same opposition, but the performance of their batsmen in the recent past should give India the confidence to either post or to chase a big total at Nagpur, a ground on which they have traditionally done well.
Australia have clearly been the dominant side in the 4 completed games and are deservedly leading the series. George Bailey, standing-in as skipper for Michael Clarke in the series, has led from the front and inspired confidence in the rest of his players with his tremendous showing with the bat; he currently is the leading run scorer in the series, with 318 runs from 4 innings, including 3 fifties.
Australia have stuck to a 4-man bowling attack, which includes 3 pacers and one spinner in Xavier Doherty, while Shane Watson has come in at different stages of the innings as the fifth bowler and been highly effective and economical in that role. Australia’s fielding has also been sharp and the high standards that they’ve set themselves in this area have been impressive and added another dimension to their game.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaidev Unadkat.
Aaron Finch, Philip Hughes, Shane Watson, George Bailey (c), Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
Prediction: With two consecutive washed-out games, neither side has played a full cricket game for over a week now. The weather at Nagpur forecasts partly cloudy skies and a low chance for any sort of precipitation on the day of the game. India still have the advantage of the home conditions, and the wicket at Nagpur is expected to be flat and support high run-scoring. India’s batting line-up is the more dominant of the two sides and should them help them come out on top at Nagpur.