India skipper Virat Kohli (R) and his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch got a hold of the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy, which is being toured, at the Sydney Cricket Ground. -AFP
Having had a winning start to the tournament, both India and Australia will eye for early supremacy, as they take on each other in the 14th match of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 at The Oval on Sunday, 9 June.
Australia's famed never-say-die spirit once again came to the fore, when they staged a remarkable comeback against West Indies at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, who had an ODI average of 12.83 before Thursday, stunned West Indies with a 60-ball 92 to lift Australia from the depths of 38/4, with Steve Smith and Alex Carey, too, making laudable contributions. Then, Mitchell Starc - the Player of the Tournament in the 2015 edition - snuffed out a tough West Indies fightback during the chase to finish with five wickets and deliver a 15-run win.
Now, Australia once again meet the opposition against whom they began their remarkable ODI turnaround earlier this year - India. Their opponents are riding their own wave of confidence, having announced themselves with a convincing victory against South Africa on Wednesday. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who wiped out half the South African line-up between them, might once again be a decisive factor.
While Rohit Sharma seemed back in touch with his gritty century, KL Rahul's resistance during a tough period of play must be heartening for team management.Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli might've failed in their first outing, but their track record against Australia, and the current form of Starc and Cummins, surely builds up towards an exciting contest.
Virat Kohli (India): Having done very little of note since arriving in England, the Indian captain will be keen to show his might against the quality Australia's attack. Kohli, the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Rankings, has always produced his best against the five-time world champions, and will be raring to do so once again at the biggest stage.
Steve Smith (Australia): Kohli's equal in the opposition camp, Steve Smith was chiefly responsible for ending India's World Cup campaign in the 2015 edition, when he made a century against them in the semi-final. The right-hander averages in excess of 50 against India, starkly ahead of his career average of 41.92. With his imperious wrist-work, Smith has his own way of countering spin bowling, and will be a key batsman for Australia in the middle overs.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon
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