India vs Australia ODI series in India and Australia leading the series by 2-1, this may be called as a surprise. None of the experts would have expected this either, but Australia have played really well and they deserve the lead they currently have. However, playing a match in Ranchi which is also the home ground of the Indian captain might not be an easy task for the Aussies. After what happened in the last match that India played at Ranchi, when India thrashed England and it was an excellent bowling display, Aussies might be a bit worried.

On the other end, the form of Finch, Hughes, Bailey, Voges, Johnson, Mckay and Faulkner is a huge plus for the team, and when 7/11 players are in good form they seem favorites to win once again. The Indian batsmen seem to be inconsistent, with the exception of Virat, and that is why he is regarded as the 2nd best batsman in the world. 

Team News
Ishant being included Dhoni’s love for the Sharma’s, may it be Ishant or Rohit, is strange. However, his persistence for Rohit is starting to pay off, and it could be the same for Ishant too. None of the bowlers except Bhuvi are performing their task, and the non-performing Ashwin is one of the biggest problems currently. Ashwin has to step up his game, pick wickets, stop the flow of runs and earn the confidence of his captain. Dhawan and Rohit also need to step up and play like they did in the 2nd ODI, which would give confidence to the struggling Indian middle order. 

Watson’s bowling has been very good and that has solved their headache for the 5th bowler. Maxwell is playing as a pure batsman and he has also been performing consistently which is a big plus for the team. With Voges and Faulkner coming good in the last match, the Australians have a very strong batting line up. With Johnson bowling the way he is, Bailey must certainly be delighted. Faulkner’s heroics cannot be forgotten so easily, and he will be waiting for the time when Ishant comes on to bowl, because he knows he can get the better of Ishant. Hughes has been the team’s anchor and he must do so for the remaining ODI’s too to ensure the team can post a good total. 

Probable Teams
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin/Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar Jaydev Unadkat

X-Factor: Yuvraj Singh performed very well in his comeback T20 game and won India the match single handedly, but since then he has disappointed. It is a known fact that he is a proven match winner, but he struggled against Johnson, who was the bowler who got him out in the 1st and 3rd ODI.   He needs to get in, spend some time in the middle and then unleash himself on the Aussie bowling. If he performs India have a much better chance of winning, and much is expected from him. 

Australia: Aaron Finch, Philip Hughes, Shane Watson, Adam Voges, George Bailey(c), Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Clint Mckay, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty

X-Factor: Aaron Finch has been Australia’s 2nd most consistent batsman and he has negated India’s best bowler Bhuvneshwar with ease. If he can continue to do so, he might as well give the team a great start and put India in a spot. What’s even better is that he known at what point of time to accelerate and increase the scoring rate, which helps the team out a lot. 

Expected Result: India Win
 
 
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by Sanchit Gupta

The afternoon started with Australia winning the toss for the third straight time this series but the decision was different this time,this time they invited India to bat first.Both teams were once again unchanged with Australia deciding to give their bowlers a chance on a greener Mohali track, while India gave yet another reprieve to Ishant Sharma who was expected to get something from this green wicket. R Ashwin, who was also under fire, incidentally had the second best economy rate for either team in the last game, despite all the flak he took in the press.

Shikhar Dhawan looked to get off to another rollicking start as he cracked two boundaries off Clint McKay's first over, but was caught behined on the final ball of it. It was a good thing from an Australian point of view that Dhawan walked as the Umpire looked clueless out there in the middle.India then hit a bit of a slump losing 4 wickets to short pitched bowling as the batsmen failed to get on top of the deliveries because of the extra bounce on offer at Mohali due to the green track. Rohit Sharma (11) and Suresh Raina (17) both looked good before falling to Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson respectively. Johnson ran through the middle order, getting rid of Yuvraj Singh for a first ball duck and then Ravindra Jadeja for 2. Mid Way,Virat Kohli (68) and MS Dhoni rebuilt the innings, adding 72 for the 5th wicket before Kohli fell in Glenn Maxwell's only over. The Indian skipper found a handy partner in R Ashwin (28), and the duo added another 76 runs for the 7th wicket before Dhoni decided to take charge of the proceedings and hit the bowling in every part of the ground scoring 139 of just 121 balls with 12 fours and 5 massive sixes.Australia looked like keeping India to about 250, but skipper George Bailey, who seemed to do everything else right till that point, dropped a skier to hand Dhoni a reprieve. It proved to be a big miss and cost Australia 36 runs in the last 2 overs as India sneaked past 300.

Australia's response with the bat was once again positive with Aaron Finch (38) and Phil Hughes (22) adding 68 for the opening wicket before the latter fell caught behind to Vinay Kumar sccumbing to pressure built up by a maiden over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Ishant Sharma bowled a good first spell and in conjunction with Jadeja squeezed Australia's run rate. Wickets followed with Sharma getting Finch leg before while Jadeja got Shane Watson (11) in identical fashion. George Bailey (43) and Adam Voges (78*) came in with the score reading 88-3 and added 83 for the fourth wicket to keep Australia in the hunt. Bailey became the third leg before victim of the innings and was shortly followed by Glen Maxwell who was run out for 3. Brad Haddin came out and upped the tempo, smashing 24 of just 16 balls before finding the man in the deep off the bowling of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and at 213-6 in the 42nd over, the game looked very much in India's favour. Voges and Faulkner built together a steady partnership, but the home side were still very much in the driver's seat with Australia needing 44 to win from the last 3 overs when the impossible happened. Faulkner and smashed the lanky fast bowler,Ishant Sharma for 30 runs - including 4 sixes to swing the match back in Australia's favour, and the visitors made the series scoreline 2-1 by sneaking over the finish line with 3 balls to spare.

Both teams will now move to Ranchi,Dhoni's hometown for the 4th ODI with India desperately needing a win to bring the series back to level.


 
 
If there was a pitch in this entire series that would assist the bowlers, it has to be the Mohali wicket. After the carnage, this might be a chance to fight back for the pace bowlers. Faulkner, Mckay and Johnson would be licking their lips as they can now bowl fast at the batsmen, whereas Bhuvi, Ishant and Vinay would be feeling lucky since 1 or 2 more bad performances could see them out of the playing 11 even before they notice it.

Does India have the strongest bowling line up in the world? The answer is yes. But the mind boggling fact is that in a country of over 2 billion people, India have not produced 1 world class pace bowler after the likes of Srinath and Zaheer. This match will once again be a contest between the Indian batsmen and the Aussie bowlers, and the ones who come out on top will lead their team to victory. Mohali does get a lot of dew, and if Bailey decides to bat 1st it might put his team in a spot, but well it’s his and his team management’s decision.

Team News
Team India might as well stick with the same XI, with the only possible change could be bringing in Unadkat for one of the pacers who have been ineffective till now. Their batting power is so good that they can chase down any target with a few overs to spare. On top of that, the main batsman of the team Yuvraj did not even get a bat, which further adds to the team’s batting strength. Now that Dhawan and Rohit are in form, the Aussies might find it tough to win even one of the remaining 5 games.

The Aussie batting looks good, but is nowhere equal to the power the Indians possess. However, their bowling is their biggest strength and if Johnson and Faulkner can pitch it in the right areas and trouble the batsmen, they might be in with a slim chance. Virat and Yuvraj’s wicket would be the key and if the Aussies can knock over those 2 cheaply, the match would definitely be an even contest. If bailey decides to bat 1st, as that has been the trend till now, nothing less than 350 would be a good total considering that all Indian batsmen have been in good form lately.


Probable Teams
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar Jaydev Unadkat

X-Factor: Ravindra ‘Sir’ Jadeja, the once assumed to be the joke of cricket had silenced some of his critics in the champions’ trophy, where he bowled superbly. However, he is once again starting to be one of those who performs for a certain time and then is a complete waste. He needs to put his hand up and perform once again, particularly after his disastrous performances in the Champions League T20, and the 2 ODI’s. He might not be needed much with the bat, but he has to do his job with the ball. With the pressure rising from the Nayar’s and the Pathan’s, ‘Sir’ Jadeja would soon be contesting for his place in the XI if he does not dish out a good performance soon. 

Australia: Aaron Finch, Philip Hughes, Shane Watson, Adam Voges, George Bailey(c), Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Clint Mckay, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty

X-Factor: Shame Watson is a very diverse cricketer mainly because he has so much to offer with the bat and the ball. His bowling in the last match was awful, but he made up a little with the bat. He is the most experienced cricketer in this line up and he has to be the one who goes on to score a big one, if Australia are to win. He might not be opening the bowling, but he does bowl towards the death and that is when the Indian batsmen are most dangerous. If he can contain them and pick up wickets, he deserves a pat on his back. 

Expected Result: India Win

 
 
By Sanchit Gupta

India made a laughing stock of an exceptional Australian batting effort to post 359-5 in the alloted 50 overs by spriting to their target in just 43.3 overs and winning the match by 9 wickets,all thanks to 3 incredible innings from Rohit Sharma(141 of 123 balls), Shikhar Dhawan(95 of 86 balls) and Virat Kohli(100 of 52 balls).

The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, Rajasthan which is home to two Australian players,Shane Watson and James Faulkner who play for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL was treated to an absolute run feast as over 700 runs were scored and much to the delight of the home fans,The Indian Team came out triumphant.It wasnt a day when a bowler could proudly say the fact that he was a "bowler" as Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only player on either side to end the game with an economy rate of less than 6 and only 4 wickets were taken by the bowlers in the whole course of the match.

Earlier, Australia won the toss and once again chose to bat which has been their strategy all through the series.Both teams were unsurprisingly unchanged for the match.India's decision of not changing their bowling combination backfired as they were clobbered for 359 runs in 50 overs with each of the top 5 Australian batsman scoring a 50 atleast. A steady opening partnership between Finch(50 of 53 balls) and Hughes(83 of 103 balls) set the tone for a big score. Shane Watson returned to form with a fluent 53 of 50 balls.Glenn Maxwell added more woes to the Indian camp with his knock of 53 of 32 balls.But,the skipper,Bailey was the man who took his side to a huge score by batting till the end,smashing 92 of just 50 balls.

India's bowling continued to be mediocre and wayward with hardly a memorable delivery bowled all day.Australia smashed 12 sixed and 36 fours with the Indian team appearing clueless on how to stop the onslaught.

Chasing a massive 360 to win,India's openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started cautiously but still managed to keep the required rate within bounds.The duo added 176 for the opening wicket in just 26 overs before Dhawan was caught behind off the bowling of Faulkner.Kohli came in to bat at number three with India still needing another 184 to chase down Australia's mammoth 359 run target.He along with Rohit was involved in an unbroken 186-run stand for the second wicket as India reached the target with 39 balls to spare.Virat Kohli scored the fatest hundred by an Indian batsman in ODIs as he smashed an unbeaten 100 off just 52 balls,overtaking Virender Sehwag's record of a hundred off 60 balls that he made against New Zealand in 2009.In his record-breaking knock, Kohli stroked eight boundaries and seven sixes.His shots were pure cricketing strokes and not slogs that one generally associates with power-hitting and limit over cricket.

India's run chase of 360 was the best ever by an Indian side and the second best of all time.

The teams will now head to Mohali wehere they will resume the battle with the series tied at 1-1.

 
 
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Not many would be interested in this game as Sachin’s retirement is still fresh in 2 billion minds, but well this is an important game. The Indian team are clearly favorites to win and the crowd would be backing them to do so too. Finch and Watson would be key at the top of the order, but if the Indians can break through them successfully then the Aussies would possibly be in trouble. 

It’s going to be a battle of which team has the better combination, Australia who could possibly play the extra batsman, or India who will be playing 2 solid all-rounders in Jadeja and Yuvraj. The Indians seem to have the upper hand here too, but one good innings from any of the Aussie batsmen could turn things around. The spinners will also come into play, for Australia possibly Doherty and Voges whereas for India Yuvraj, Jadeja and Ashwin.

Team News
The only doubt that the Indian team management would have is over the form of Ashwin, and whether he needs to be benched for a few games and give Mishra a shot, however that is unlikely to happen. India might as well retain the same team and why not, they played brilliantly. Ishant has to tighten up a bit and be more consistent, and Rohit Sharma has to put his hand up and say now it is time for me to deliver on my promise. Promising players like Unadkat and Ahmed might just have to wait for the right chance, but they will definitely be given a look in later on in the tournament, if not in this game.

Australia would probably drop 2 of their all-rounders that played in the T20 along with Maddinson who is not in the squad, and play 3 regular batsmen in place of them. That definitely makes the batting stronger but at the same time also makes the bowling that much weaker. Watson and Voges would have to complete the 5th bowler’s quota and they would dearly hope that they do not run into an in-form Yuvi, Virat, Dhawan or any of the other Indian batsmen who can tear them apart.

Probable Teams

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar , Ishant Sharma/Jaydev Unadkat

X-Factor: Yuvraj Singh had expressed his emotional side in at the end of the last game where he said more than he is happy with his performance he is disappointed that his hero, Sachin Tendulkar had announced his retirement. If there is one man who is in the running for the no.4 slot in test matches, it is Yuvraj. A good couple of performances in this series and he could be the man India would look forward to and he never fails to deliver. With Ashwin not being very productive with the ball, Dhoni might turn to Yuvi to chip in with a few overs and he is no mug with the ball, and Kevin Pietersen knows that better than anyone :)

Australia: Aaron Finch, Philip Hughes, Shane Watson, Adam Voges, George Bailey(c), Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Clint Mckay, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Xavier Doherty

X-Factor: Australia could do much better with an in-form Adam Voges as he is one who has been a regular in the limited version of the game, and this series would be a test to judge his place in the side. Voges would also have to step in and bowl a few overs as Australia cannot afford to drop Hughes or Ferguson as that would make their batting line up really thin and if you do not post a big total against the Indians, you might as well pack your bags after the 1st innings itself.

Expected Result: India Win


 
 
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The 1st game of the season, and Team India is all fired up. Some of the players from the team are in good form as the likes of Dhoni, Raina, Rohit and a few others have played in the recently concluded Champions League whereas the others like Yuvraj, B Kumar, and others have played for India A against the West Indies. The fans seem to be rejuvenated too, and they will be backing their team from the word go. 

Some of the Australians too had participated in the Champions League and have gained some good experience of playing in the humid Indian conditions. It will not be easy for them, but as they are starting the series with a t20 in which they have the best chance to win might boost their confidence.

Team News
The Indian team has the perfect balance a good team should have; solid and aggressive openers, the best limited overs middle order in the world and some accurate bowlers too. Beating them would take much more than just luck and a good performance by the opposition. Dhawan, Raina, Rohit and Yuvraj seem to be in really good form and if all 4 of these click then the team could score more than 200 on any sort of track on any given day.

The Australian team seems to be a batsman short, but the likes of Maxwell and Henriques are proven t20 cricketers and if they can fire, they team has a more than decent chance of doing well in this game. On the other hand, their bowling looks more than decent but they dearly lack a quality spinner. Not brining Fawad Ahmed to India might be a bad move but who knows whether Bailey even wants to play a spinner considering they have so many quality pacers in their team.

Probable Teams
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat/Shami Ahmed

X-Factor: The man who was responsible for the glory of April 2nd, Yuvraj Singh is back and this time there is no looking back for him. He looks leaner, slimmer and much fitter than he was 5 months ago, and the selectors have no reason to ignore him now. Dhoni has himself said that Yuvraj is a big match player, and well he has proved that over the years. Now that India have started building their squad for the 2015 World Cup, Yuvraj is man who will bat at no.4 or no.5 and will hold the innings together.

Australia: Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wk), Shane Watson, George Bailey (c), Adam Voges, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Johnson

X-Factor: Aaron Finch would be shouldering the responsibility of opening the batting in both the T20’s and the ODI’s. Since Clarke is not here and Australia do not have a strong batting line up, Finch would be feeling the pressure of staying at the crease for a long time and scoring big runs too.  

Expected Result: India Win