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When a big rolling rock meets a powerful force

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India_Australia_Semi_Final_World_Cup_2015_FansDo it this one time and you will be forgiven of all your past sins Men In Blue. The buzz about the semi-final between defending champions India versus home team and favourites Australia has been of another level. Expected though. But honestly, the one team that’s kind of distracted before the big day is the home side.

MS Dhoni in his usual calm way isn’t talking big or let's say not talking at all. He hasn’t expressed his satisfaction to a grass less pitch, nor he has passionately called out Indian supporters to come and cheer his men. None of Dhoni’s men have said how intense the game is going to be.

On the other hand, Australian team is fretting over the pitch surface at Sydney Cricket Ground. Absence of a single blade of grass should obviously be upsetting a uni-dimensional Australian attack. The news of 30,000 tickets sold to Indian fans made Oz skipper Michael Clarke call out the green and gold via Twitter.

His trusted all-rounder mate James Faulkner came out and said that sledging will be inevitable during the all-important game. Well, that’s Aussies for you, they like it tough. But they surely somewhere at the back of their minds know that this complete silence of Team India can well be the calm before the storm.

 

What once was to be India’s weakness is now its strength. Dhoni’s bowlers have taken 70 wickets in seven games. No matter whether they played in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Auckland or Hamilton. Not sure if playing at Sydney will make a difference. It shouldn’t matter to the No. 1 ODI side too.

And mind you, these are two of the most powerful teams clashing in the World Cup. Home side is the aggressive one, defending champions are the strategists. Home side is World No. 1; opponents are world champions. Home side is coming at the back of a tri-series win at home, opponents are unbeaten in the tournament till date.

While most say it will be a contest between Australia's bowling and India’s batting, the contest would actually be between the two batting line-ups. Who scores big may well decide the contest tomorrow and not who takes wickets.

India’s top batsmen have all scored tons barring Ajinkya Rahane who is relishing the role of the other guy. Australia on the other hand have century makers in Aaron Finch, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell. Steve Smith has looked good and only skipper Michael Clarke is rusty with an unpredictable Shane Watson to add.

On paper, the Australia bowling is far more intimidating compared to their counterparts, physically, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood are much bigger, much faster and so much more dangerous as compared to Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma.

But where fast bowlers will lack, India will make it with the guile of a top-class spinner especially while playing in Sydney. R Ashwin has not taken the most wickets but he has been the most economical of the Indian frontline bowlers. Don’t be surprised if between Australia and finals, Ashwin stands tall, literally.

So here it is, the home side playing against a team that can apply for citizenship probably (in Australia since November) and will feel at home with 30,000 odd supporters in a stadium capacity of 44,000.

Plenty of action, runs, wickets and of course words will be seen, felt and heard. Expect nothing less than an explosion as a big rolling rock meets a powerful force.



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