Mohali: Australia will look to dump hosts India out of the World Twenty20 tournament on Sunday in a do-or-die clash between cricket’s two biggest teams.
A narrow win by India over Bangladesh, followed by Australia’s 21-run triumph against Pakistan, has effectively reduced Sunday’s group encounter into a knockout, with the winner making it to the semi-finals.
“We’ve got a massive game coming up against India, whoever wins that goes through,” said Australian paceman James Faulkner after Friday’s win against Pakistan.
“It was on our shoulders to turn the ship around and start winning.
“We have won two in a row, now we need to win another three to win the World Cup,” said the bowler, who enjoyed a five-wicket haul against Pakistan, the first Australian to do so in T20 cricket.
Australia are the reigning 50-over world champions and the number one Test side, but have failed to win the World T20 in five previous attempts.
If they do manage to win the trophy this time around, it would be a fitting tribute to all-rounder Shane Watson, who is set to quit international cricket at the end of the tournament.
Watson was part of Australia’s World Cup triumphs in 2007 and 2015 and also starred during the team’s winning campaigns in the Champions Trophy finals of 2006 and 2009.
The Aussies have won two games in this T20 edition while going down to New Zealand, who have already qualified for the semis with three wins from as many matches.
India were also handed a thrashing by the Black Caps, who are sitting on top of Group 2 and are clearly one of the better-looking sides in the tournament.
– ‘Stay in the moment’ -The home side, which won the inaugural World T20 edition in 2007, bounced back to defeat arch-rivals Pakistan before pulling off a nerve-wracking one-run win against Bangladesh.
The Indians will be praying for a full game Sunday because a washout would throw the hosts out of the tournament, since Australia enjoy a better run rate.
India’s star batsman Virat Kohli admitted the players would have to raise their game against the Aussies and not let themselves be overwhelmed.
“I think the only thing that we can do in this situation is to stay in the moment and not get carried away by the bigger picture,” Kohli said Saturday at a pre-match press conference.
“Sometimes we forget to do what exactly we need to do on a particular delivery, which could be a game-changing event,” he said.
“This format requires you to be top of your focus and concentration for 120 balls while you are batting and in the field.
“If we play to our potential, we have the ability to go all the way.”
India (from): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh.
Australia (from): Steven Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa