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T20 World Cup 2024, AUS vs IND 51st Match, Super Eights, Group 1 Match Preview

Match details

Australia vs India
St Lucia, June 24, 10.30am local time

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Big picture: Rain threat in St Lucia

This episode of Australia-India was always going to be spicy, because, well, it’s Australia-India, and because November 19 and all that. But now, after the events of June 22, there’s even more riding on it. Group 1 of the Super Eight in T20 World Cup 2024 is now thrillingly open.

This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but Australia will be on wafer-thin ice if they lose. And while India’s net run rate gives them a decent safety net, there is still a chance they could lose out on a semi-finals slot.

It’s Australia-India, then, and the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. What more could a cricket fan ask for? Well, there’s one thing: the weather forecast in St Lucia isn’t hugely encouraging.

A washout would suit India just fine, sealing their semi-finals spot, but for Australia the difference between two points and one could be humongous. They are well aware of this, having been haunted by this difference in a global tournament not that long ago.

Form guide

Australia LWWWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
India WWWWW

In the spotlight – Marsh and Arshdeep

This hasn’t been the best of World Cups for Mitchell Marsh, with six innings bringing him just 88 runs at an average of 17.60 and a strike rate of 111.39. Conditions in the West Indies haven’t always been conducive to the Australia captain’s brand of hit-through-the-line strokeplay, but a return to St Lucia, the highest-scoring venue of this tournament, could help him find his way back into form.

Arshdeep Singh is India’s highest wicket-taker in this World Cup with 12 strikes at the rate of one every 10 balls, but he’s also been their only regular bowler with an economy rate north of 7. He’s looked hugely impressive when the ball has swung, but he’s also looked inconsistent with his lengths at other times, which he will want to guard against on Monday given the opposition and the likely conditions.

Team news: Starc in or out?

Australia played the extra spinner against Afghanistan, bringing in Ashton Agar and leaving out Mitchell Starc. They could yet continue with that combination – Agar featured in their one previous game in St Lucia, against Scotland – particularly with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli not too fond of facing left-arm spin in the powerplay, but given the nature of this contest, will they continue to leave out one of their most tried-and-tested match-winners?

Australia (probable): 1 Travis Head, 2 David Warner, 3 Mitchell Marsh (capt), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc/Ashton Agar, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.

It seems unlikely India will tinker with their 3-3 bowling combination (with Hardik Pandya as one of their three seamers), but their two left-arm orthodox spinners may come under a bit of pressure if either Travis Head or David Warner bats into the middle overs.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Rishabh Pant (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

Pitch and conditions: Pace on, runs on

There is a good chance of rain in St Lucia, though, with forecasts predicting showers through Monday morning with the weather clearing up roughly between 10am and 4pm.

Stats and trivia

  • India have a 3-2 edge over Australia in their T20 World Cup meetings so far. The last time they clashed in this tournament, however, was back in 2016.
  • Virat Kohli (4103) and Rohit Sharma (4073) are separated by just 30 runs on top of India’s run-scoring leaderboard in T20Is.
  • If they both feature, Agar and Arshdeep will play their 50th T20Is. Agar made his T20I debut in March 2016, while Arshdeep made his in July 2022. New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi (51) is the only player from a Full Member team to play more T20Is than Arshdeep since his debut.
  • Australia could find a way to bowl spin to Kohli and Rohit in the powerplay even if they leave Agar out. Offspinners have bowled effectively to them in the powerplay so far at this World Cup, with Mohammad Nabi and Mahedi Hasan getting through quiet overs. Kohli has scored nine off 12 balls against offspin in the powerplay so far, and Rohit nine off eight. Glenn Maxwell, then, could be a useful option.

Quotes

“We have a lot of belief in our group. We are a very good cricket team. Yes, tonight we had an off night but I guess there’s also a positive in the fact that in 36 hours we go again. It’s a big game, it will be against India, obviously, and it’s a must-win game. I think if you look back at the short history of this team, I know for a fact that it brings out the best in our guys, so the boys will certainly be up and about for it.”
Australia captain Mitchell Marsh, after the defeat to Afghanistan

“In T20s, I don’t believe you need to get fifties and hundreds. How you can put pressure on the opposition is what matters. All the batters were trying to do that from the word go. That’s how we want to play and encourage ourselves to go forward. Yes, you need to understand the conditions as well, but we have a lot of experience in the squad, and we back them to use that experience on the field.”
India captain Rohit Sharma on the team’s approach with the bat

Karthik Krishnaswamy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


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