India vs. Australia, 5th ODI, Nagpur: Preview

September 30, 2017

This bilateral series between India and Australia has been a breath of fresh air. While India may have already won 3-1, every match has been a real contest with both sides giving it their everything.

Australia have acquitted themselves well despite losing the series. They are playing for pride now and will want to make it 3-2 tomorrow in Nagpur.

India have a really good reason to win tomorrow – they win, they make the series 4-1 in their favor. Do that and they become the world’s #1 ranked ODI team. There is also a big difference between winning a series 4-1 and 3-2. So there is a lot of pride at stake from both teams.

Clearly, the two sets of players are not friends. They hate each other and it starts with the captains, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. Kohli and Smith have a long standing rivalry that goes back to the Test series played earlier this year in India.

The captains have set the tone for everyone to follow. Hardik Pandya, who has been Indian cricket’s biggest find in a while, had had verbal confrontations with almost everyone in the Australian team.

Australians, it is clear, have targeted Pandya, and they see him as India’s most important player after Kohli. Pandya has batted at no. 4 in this series. It remains to be seen if he makes this position his own.

There is just one other player in the world who can bat in the middle order and bowl fast, and that is Ben Stokes. Pandya is already talked about as India’s Ben Stokes and he has done his reputation no harm whatsoever with his performances in recent months.

India would most likely play Kuldeep Yadav, who is a genuine wicket taker, to Axar Patel, who is quite frankly very average. One doesn’t understand why Axar gets to play for India so often when he is such an average bowler, a below average batsman and an average fielder.

Indian cricket has always had such players who have no business playing at the highest level. The last Indian player to fit this description was Stuart Binny. Remember him? The so-called all-rounder who couldn’t bat or bowl!

For India one hopes to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah back, but it looks likely that they will be rested. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav will continue despite being poor in the last game.

The Teams

India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 and 5 two out of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Travis Head/Glenn Maxwell, 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Adam Zampa.

Match Conditions

The VCA Stadium in Nagpur is a real batsman’s paradise. But the track has been relaid and the curator says that he has prepared a more sporting pitch which offers help to bowlers.

Watch India play Australia tomorrow at 1:30 pm live on Star Sports!

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