India will take on Australia in the 2023 World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, November 19. The clash will be a rematch of the 2003 World Cup final in which the Men in Blue went down to the Aussies by 125 runs in Johannesburg. However, Team India will be confident of putting up a much better show in Ahmedabad on Sunday. They have been undefeated in the World Cup so far, the only team to have not lost a single game. After nine league clash triumphs, they got the better of New Zealand by 70 runs in the first semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Australia began their World Cup campaign with losses to India and South Africa. However, they have been absolutely brilliant since then. They won all their remaining league games to qualify for the tournament’s semi-finals. In the knockout clash against the Proteas at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, they registered a three-wicket win in a low-scoring game. They first bowled the Proteas to 212 and then chased the target in 47.2 overs. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the India vs Australia 2023 World Cup final.
Rohit Sharma vs Josh Hazlewood
Rohit Sharma versus Josh Hazlewood will be one engrossing battle. The Indian skipper has been in spectacular big-hitting form in the tournament. In 10 matches, he has smashed 550 runs at an average of 55 and, more significantly, at a strike rate of 124.15. Rohit has done brilliantly in the World Cup so far to absorb all the early pressure and ensure there is no run rate worry for the likes of Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer. He also did the same in the semi-final and will look to do the same in the final.
While Rohit has succeeded in his aggressive antics against most opponents, Australia’s Josh Hazlewood is likely to pose a much bigger challenge to him. The seasoned right-arm pacer has been impressively consistent for the Aussies, not giving away much. He stifled South Africa in the semi-final with figures of 2/12 from eight overs. The Indian captain will also remember that Hazlewood had trapped him lbw for a duck in the league stage. It should be an absorbing contest.
Travis Head vs Jasprit Bumrah
Travis Head’s journey in the competition has been quite interesting, from being an uncertainty for the World Cup to being the Player of the Match in the semi-final. The 29-year-old smashed a brilliant hundred against New Zealand. After three low scores, he lifted his game against South Africa in the semi-final and smashed 62 off 48. Before that, he also chipped in with the ball, claiming two wickets. While Australia also has David Warner, Head will be key for the team at the start of the innings as he can provide the much-needed momentum.
Jasprit Bumrah has done an excellent job for India with the ball, striking key early bowls in most of the team’s World Cup matches. That is what he was expected to do, and he hasn’t let the team down. In 10 innings, he has claimed 18 wickets at an average of 18.33. He has set opponents back by dismissing big players early, although he failed to do the same in the semis against New Zealand. Head will be a big fish for India. Can Bumrah snare him?
Virat Kohli vs Adam Zampa
Virat Kohli vs Adam Zampa will be one of the battles to watch out for. The latter has had the wood over the Indian batter. However, Kohli has been in supreme form and will be much more confident in tackling the challenge that will be offered by the Aussie leggie this time. What adds to the intrigue is that Zampa is also at the top of his game, which was not the case when the sides met in the league stage last month.
Kohli is the leading run-getter in the 2023 World Cup. In 10 matches, he has smashed a record 711 runs at an average of 101.57 and a strike rate of 90.69. As for Zampa, he has 22 scalps in 10 matches at an average of 21.41. Only Mohammed Shami is above him on the wicket-taker’s list. Will Zampa get Kohli again, or will the Indian superstar thwart him?
Steve Smith vs Mohammed Shami
Steve Smith has not had the kind of World Cup he would have liked. He doesn’t even feature in the top 15 among the leading run-getters in the tournament. Smith has only two half-centuries to show from nine innings. The Aussie batter will be a tad disappointed with his performance so far, but he likes the big stage.
What does one say about Mohammed Shami? Six innings, 23 wickets at an average of just over 9. He has just been absolutely sensational, claiming three five-fors and one four-for. In the semi-final against New Zealand, he single-handedly bowled India to victory with figures of 7/57. Smith has the experience to tackle him, but Shami seems to be bowling on a different planet. Can the Aussie great find a way to neutralize Shami’s threat? If he does, it will be a massive moral win for Australia.
Shreyas Iyer vs Mitchell Starc
Indian batter Shreyas Iyer has been one of the heroes of the team’s amazing World Cup journey. In 10 innings, he has smashed 526 runs at an average of 75.14 and a strike rate of 113.12. The 28-year-old has two fifties and two hundreds in his last four innings.
Shreyas vs Mitchell Starc should be an intriguing tussle. The latter will look to test him out with his pace and bounce. He has not had the greatest of World Cups. And yet he delivered a stellar performance in the semi-final against South Africa, claiming 3/34. Can he end Shreyas’ golden run with the bat in the World Cup final?