India’s successful run-chase of 350 in the 6th ODI at Nagpur on Wednesday has taken the bilateral series against Australia to the seventh and final game of the series to decide the winner.
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru will play host to the final match of the series, which will take place on Saturday, November 2, and bring to an end Australia’s 3-week long tour of India.
Poor with the ball and even poorer as a fielding unit, India have been dismal in one half of the game and spectacular in the other. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s inclusion for the Nagpur ODI didn’t produce the results that the team management would have been hoping for, instead Mishra’s half-trackers and woefully inconsistent death over bowling allowed the Australian batsmen to pile on the runs in heaps towards the end of their innings on Wednesday. Australia scored an astounding 180 runs in the last 20 overs at Nagpur, including 99 runs off the last 10. With the conditions at Bengaluru not expected to assist the bowlers and the outfield expected to be just as quick as at Nagpur, India simply need to strive for greater consistency and discipline in their bowling and fielding. India look set to go back to their three-pace prong attack, with left-arm medium-pacer Jaidev Unadkat expected to come in for Amit Mishra on his home ground at Bengaluru.
With the bat, the Indian team in the recent past has been as dominant as any batting lime-up in the history of limited overs cricket. The top 3 batsmen- Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Virat Kohli, have all grown from strength to strength with each innings. Each of the three batsmen have a century to their name in the series, with Kohli striking his second century on Wednesday. Virat Kohli’s prolific run scoring in ODI cricket has been grabbing headlines all over the cricketing world, and the Delhi batsman would hope to come good one more time on Saturday at Bengaluru, three days before his 25th birthday.
Australia have played very well as a team right through the ODI series and have been positive from the word go. Touring India has historically been one of the hardest challenges for Australian teams, and games like the one at Nagpur on Wednesday are an example to the tough bowling conditions that touring teams have to face in India. With the bat, Australia have put up some heroic individual performances; skipper George Bailey leading the way for Australia in this list. Bailey has scored a massive 474 runs from 5 innings in the series, 130 runs more than the next best Virat Kohli. Bailey’s monumental 156, the highest score by an Australian captain against India in ODI cricket, ended in a losing cause, a concern that Bailey addressed in his post-match press conferences.
Australia have problems of their own in the bowling department, most glaringly that with their 5th bowler option. Shane Watson went for plenty at Nagpur, and was largely ineffective on the day, with the conditions offering little to no assistance to the Australian bowlers. Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch were called in to fill in the remaining few overs and inspite of some economical overs and many dot balls, Australia have yet to find the right combination at all stages of their bowling innings. With all to play for in the series decider at Bengaluru on Saturday, Australia would dearly hope to come out fresh from the recent defeat and execute their plans well.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Australia: Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, George Bailey(c), Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
Prediction: With all to play for at Bengaluru, both India and Australia would be keen to put their best foot forward and get it right. But after their successful run-chase of 351 on Wednesday, and the dominating form shown by their top 3 batsmen, Team India will carry great confidence and momentum into the game at Bengaluru, a head-start that will hold them in great stead and help them get ahead in the game.
India will beat Australia at Bengaluru and win the series 3-2