Post the conclusion of the Asia Cup 2023, all eyes are now on the India-Australia ODI series. The first match of this intriguing face-off is scheduled for Friday, September 22, 2023. Cricket enthusiasts will be treated to three gripping matches culminating on September 27, 2023. These matches are not just another series but a crucial practice session for both teams leading up to the ODI World Cup 2023.
Cricket fans will remember the previous clash between these two titans on March 22, 2023, at the renowned MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The Australians emerged victorious, defeating India by a margin of 21 runs, ultimately claiming the 3-match series with a 2-1 scoreline.
India, currently enjoying their top spot in the ODI rankings, is set to meet the 6th-ranked Australians. But rankings can be deceptive, especially with Australia showcasing its classic habit of picking up momentum right when it matters most. Their recent performance in South Africa, leading 2-1 in a 5-match series, is evidence of their growing form.
The overall head-to-head record in ODIs between these two teams stands as follows:
Matches Played: 146
Victories for Australia: 82
Triumphs for India: 54
Matches with No Result: 10
Recent triumphs over teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup have further boosted India’s confidence. Add to this the timely return of stalwarts like Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer, and the Indian team looks as formidable as ever.
Centuries from Rahul and Virat Kohli against Pakistan in the Asia Cup underscore their prime batting form. Bumrah’s comeback post-injury has been nothing short of impressive. Paired with in-form bowlers like Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav, the Indian bowling unit spells trouble for any opposition.
While many anticipate spin to play a vital role in India, a surprising statistic stands out: India’s fast bowlers have an average of 21.78 in men’s ODIs this year, the most impressive globally.
As the anticipated clash with Australia looms, there are particular aspects and players the Indian cricket fraternity and its passionate fans are keenly observing.
The cricket-crazy nation is on tenterhooks, expecting their blue brigade to perform stellar against Australia, especially with the World Cup on the horizon. Reflecting this optimism, Indian online betting sites have already rolled out their odds, with strong predictions favouring an Indian series win.
India’s strategy in the batting department seems clear with consistent performers like KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, especially after their commendable show in the Asia Cup. Yet, there’s an uncertainty around Shreyas Iyer’s fitness and if he can return to form in time for the ODI.
The talented batsman is undeniably an asset in the middle order, and the team management is keen to ensure he’s in peak form before the mega event. Matching up against the Aussies would be an ideal test for Iyer.
Spin has always been India’s forte, especially in home conditions. The combination of Jadeja and Axar Patel is expected to complement the in-form Kuldeep Yadav. However, there’s an area of concern.
Jadeja and Axar’s performances have dropped since 2022, with Axar’s bowling average soaring to 53 and Jadeja’s reaching 30. Recollecting the heroics of Yuvraj Singh in 2011, there’s a consensus that one of these two needs to rise to the occasion and dominate, fortifying the spin department.
The prowess of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli is indisputable. Their exploits in the Asia Cup and historic successes against Australia underscore their importance to the Indian lineup. It’s a given that the Aussies will have a targeted strategy against these stalwarts.
Hence, their form and ability against the Australian bowling attack will be crucial for India’s prospects in the series.
Australia, a team renowned for stepping up in World Cup years, seems to be on course. David Warner‘s century against South Africa is a clear sign of his return to form, with an impressive average of 45 in ODI cricket since 2022 began.
Marsh, Labuschagne, and Head have all posted centuries recently, indicating that the team isn’t overly reliant on any single batsman. A notable standout has been Travis Head. Since being tasked to open alongside Warner, Head boasts an average of 56 and a strike rate of 122 in ODI cricket, making him a player to watch in the upcoming series.
There’s no denying that Adam Zampa is pivotal for Australia, especially against a team like India and on spin-friendly tracks. However, his recent performance against South Africa has been a cause for concern.
Conceding a massive 113 in a 10-over spell and getting struck for 9 sixes was not a sight Australian fans are used to. This places him on a dubious pedestal, sharing the record for the highest runs ever conceded in an ODI with Lewis from the unforgettable 438 games.
Yet, Zampa has a history of performing under pressure. He has dismissed the Indian captain, Kohli, on 8 occasions in ODIs and has a commendable record on Indian pitches. The series against India will be more than just a game for Zampa; it’s an opportunity for redemption, to regain confidence before the World Cup.
Including Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in the series adds a significant edge to Australia’s bowling arsenal. These pace spearheads have a history of making life difficult for batsmen. Starc, with his laurels as the leading wicket-taker in the previous two World Cup editions, remains crucial for Australia’s plans. His ability to swing the ball, both old and new, will challenge the Indian batsmen.
As the India-Australia ODI series unfolds, it’s evident that both teams have their eyes firmly set on the larger prize: the World Cup 2023. While the current series is a battle of supremacy, it’s also a strategic groundwork for the mega event.
India is eager to iron out any inconsistencies. Australia, historically a force to reckon with during World Cup years, is channelling its energy to peak at the right moment. Beyond the series’ outcome, the learnings and momentum that both teams will carry forward to the World Cup truly matter.