Not short on aggression, but very little is verbal
Starting from the quarter-final in 2011 at the old Sardar Patel Stadium (where the new Narendra Modi Stadium has since come up) at Motera in the same city, India have won three of the four World Cup finals against the Australia, including Chennai a. a month and a half ago. While the six-wicket win in the opener for the two teams is freshest in memory, it’s hard not to remember the last time the teams battled in the World Cup before 2011, on 23 March 2003.
Fireworks at Wanderers
The Wanderers in Johannesburg, often referred to as The Bullring for obvious reasons, were the setting for a face-off between the two strongest teams of the 2003 World Cup in a title clash that promised plenty of fireworks. To tell the truth, there was no shortage of fireworks, but most of them came from the blades of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, skipper Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn when the Australians put India in a run clearance.
Australia’s players celebrate after winning the 2003 World Cup final against India in Johannesburg. Pic/Getty Images
The only thing that went right for Sourav Ganguly was the toss. India had a superb campaign leading up to the final, bouncing back from a nine-wicket deficit by the Aussies to register eight wins on the bounce and storm into the final. Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra put together a strong pace package, with one of Harbhajan Singh (mainly) or Anil Kumble offering the specialist spin threat. Rahul Dravid’s willingness to keep wickets kept India batting deep, and because so many of the top batsmen—Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Ganguly himself and Yuvraj Singh—could bowl, there was no there is a dearth of options if one of the specialists is having a bad day.
Ganguly’s decision is not bad
India had chased the entire tournament by a long way, so Ganguly’s decision to bowl first had merit. But all their plans went awry in the first one. Zaheer started with a no-ball, then engaged in a war of words first with Gilchrist, then Hayden; like the rest of the team, the left hand was quick up, but maybe too much. Fifteen came in the first innings, setting the tone for a dominant Aussie batting display that totaled 359 for two. From then on, there was only one team in the tournament, India folded up for 234 to give up 125 runs.
This Indian team of Rohit Sharma has not been short on aggression, but very little of it is of the verbal kind. Dravid, an integral part of the run to the 2003 final and now the head coach, along with Rohit have internalized the team rather than focusing on external factors, so it is certain that India will not lose this game in the head. . Australia know how to win – which is why they have lifted the World Cup five times – but then so does India. Sunday should be epic.
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