ICL: Indian Cricket League

Failure ahead of ICC Trophy at stake for Australia, India


Australia and India face-off in a crunch DLF Cup one-day International (ODI) here at the Kinrara Oval on Friday, conscious that whoever loses will take the failure into the ICC Champions Trophy next month.

Aside from the psychological boost a win would give, plenty more is at stake for world No.1 Australia.

The last time they missed the final of a triangular tournament was the VB Series in 2001-02, which led to Steve Waugh being replaced as one-day captain by Ricky Ponting.

The Aussies currently lie second in the DLF Cup table with seven points, one in front of India, a ledger that means a tie or wash-out in Friday’s “semifinal” would be enough for them to make the final against the West Indies on Sunday.

Australia will field a strong line-up after experimenting in this tournament. Glenn McGrath will spearhead a dangerous bowling attack with Brett Lee, while Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich should open the innings.

With Ponting, Damien Martyn, Michael Hussey and Andrew Symonds in the side India’s bowlers will have their work cut out.

But if Indian captain Rahul Dravid has been encouraged by anything in Malaysia it has been his bowling attack, with Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar and spinner Harbhajan Singh coming into their own.

Their batting has been less of a hit, with Sachin Tendulkar the only player to show consistent form.

“The spirit in the side is good,” said Dravid, buoyed by their 16-run victory over the West Indies in a low-scoring match on Wednesday. “Australia are obviously a very good team. It will be a good contest and irrespective of the result, I hope we play well. I hope we put up a better performance with the bat (than against the West Indies) and match our performance with the ball.

“We have put in a lot of work at the nets on our batting and it is just up to us to put our hands up and be counted now against Australia. We have to go out and perform.”

Ponting said his team was fired up and determined to make the final. “It will be a really big game for both teams. The reason we are here is to win enough games to make it into the final,” he said.

“Any Australian team that takes the field wants to win every game they play in. We’ve trained well in the last few days and expect to play good cricket on Friday. As far as we’re concerned everything is falling into place,” he added.

Their first game against each other here was abandoned due to rain, but Australia had the upper hand with India on the ropes at 35-5.

Ponting said they will target the batsmen again on Friday, but were not underestimating them, aware that Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh could find form any time.

“I think India will be a little bit worried about their batting, but we can be a little bit worried as well because they have a lot of good players, some exceptional one-day players,” he said.

Tri-Series Team Standings

Teams P W L NR Pts NRR

West Indies 4 2 2 - 9 -0.305

Australia 3 1 1 1 7 +0.640

India 3 1 1 1 6 -0.186

Final: Sunday, Kuala Lumpur (d/n)

Note: West Indies have already qualified for the final

Source:The News

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