Need any words be wasted on highlighting just how anticipated, important, promising yada yada yada this game is. I reckon not.
- Wouldn’t want to join the massive ongoing guessing game about what the match-day nature of the SCG pitch is going to be like. However, reports do suggest significant wear and tear from a long season which is being viewed as a turn of events that will favour India more (the huge impact of spin on the SA vs SL match played here is also being taken into account). Conversely, as of last night, the pitch was still sweating under covers which for non-aficionados, essentially means that it’s not likely to be as much of a spin-haven as expected. Either way, I don’t think the impact of the pitch will go THAT long a way in deciding favourites. Fingers crossed for a nice sunny day in Sydney and an un-interrupted semi-final
- Michael Clarke’s dismal record against Ashwin and Jadeja is well documented and widely known. If nothing else, this will, in the least, give India a psychological edge over the Aussie skipper. Not to mention, MSD has used Suresh Raina to reasonably potent effect.
- In my view, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith pose the greatest threat from the Aussie batting to India’s plans. I’m sure backroom plans are ongoing to try and outfox the dangerous duo. Nevertheless, it is quite naive to undermine the potential impact the rest of the Australian batting can have. Finch, Warner and Faulkner can , one their day, take the game away from any opposition single handedly.
- I get the jitters, as an Indian fan, upon the very mention of Mitchell Starc’s name. Boy oh boy what consistency and at that pace too! He surely ought to be negotiated with utmost diligence by the Indian batsmen. Last thing any of us want is him wreaking havoc and making it a one-sided game.
- I don’t think concerns over Kohli’s form are founded in fact. I would say he’s had a solid tournament. Not too many big scores but that’s more a function of India chasing small totals in 2-3 matches. Not to mention, he did get a confident century against Pakistan, in what was very much a “big game” for the Indians. He didn’t ever look to me like he was struggling or searching for form.
- Inevitably, one has to talk about the proposed “sledge-fest” that the game has been duly promised to be. It’s one of those things: Whether you like it or not, it’s gonna happen. I did enjoy the tension that was palpable in the Aus vs Pak game, which was, in no small part, due to the frequent, untamed displays of aggression. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to watch a sledge-free game of cricket between Sa and NZ. It was none the less exciting, nail-biting and unforgettable than the former (possibly more). It does feel slightly odd that world-class professionals are on nattering about word-wars before the big game.
- To me, it seems to be a very evenly matched contest. I really hope it’s going to be as riveting and evenly matched as the first semi final, if not more. the rivalry will definitely be a factor that’ll up the ante a bit.