Not many would've predicted that Australia's Twenty20 World Cup hopes would be all but over after just two games, but consecutive defeats have left the Baggy Greens' destiny out of their own hands.
To keep their faint dreams alive they need to beat India who have already qualified for the semi-finals. Will MS Dhoni's men take their foot off the gas? Or will they be eager to eliminate one of the biggest rivals?
Venue: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Date: Sunday, March 30, 2014
Start time: 7:30 p.m. local time, 1:30 p.m. GMT
Weather: Another warm evening is forecast by bbc.co.uk/weather.
TV Info: Sky Sports 2 (U.K.)
James Faulkner's pregame comments that he "dislikes the West Indies" came back to haunt him as Darren Sammy launched the all-rounder for consecutive sixes to leave the Aussies needing two wins and other results and run-rate calculations to go their way.
So what's gone wrong? The batsmen have registered totals of 178 and 175; scores which would win most T20 games although, as per his postgame comments, captain George Bailey thought differently: "I don't think we batted very well. We've played two games of cricket where we haven't been our best."
Various players have chipped in, most obviously Glenn "Big Show" Maxwell who has scored 119 runs off just 55 balls, but Ashes veterans Shane Watson and David Warner will be disappointed with their contributions.
However, it is far easier to point the finger at the bowling department who have taken just nine wickets in two matches and just three of whom can boast an economy rate of less than eight. Clearly, the absence of Mitchell Johnson was a huge blow.
Given their stellar recent form, these two defeats are probably just a brief stumble, albeit at the worst possible time, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the men from Down Under bounced back here.
Internationally, India doesn't play much T20 cricket as evidenced by their solitary fixture in the entirety of 2013. Of course, their side are all battle-hardened IPL veterans anyway, which provides them with plenty of big-stage experience and exposure to quality players.
And it shows. They've bowled first in every game and calmly chased down varying targets to secure wins over the West Indies, Bangladesh and bitter rivals Pakistan to book a place in the last four.
Amazingly only seven Indian players have even had to bat so far and two of them, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, have plundered 147 and 142 runs, respectively. The next-highest individual tally is 36 by Suresh Raina.
The bowlers have also filled their boots, with the spinning trio Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in particular combining to cause havoc and take 12 wickets. And as per the intro, the main question for the Indian side is whether they can sustain their form in what is almost a dead rubber.
Last Meeting and Head-to-Head Record
On Australia's short tour of India in October, the teams met in a one-off high-scoring T20, which the hosts won by six wickets thanks to a rapid 77 by Yuvraj Singh off just 35 balls. That was India's fourth win in eight contests between the sides, of which Australia has triumphed in the other four.
Official T20 International Form (Latest Left to Right)
Australia (from): George Bailey (c), Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White. Doug Bollinger.
India (from): MS Dhoni (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma and Varun Aaron.
Players to Watch
Australia's man of the moment, off the field anyway, is James Faulkner. As well as upsetting the West Indies, the all-rounder probably isn't England's favourite player after criticising them during his first-ever Test appearance. However, the 23-year-old has, for the most part, backed up his words with his actions on the pitch and his match-winning 69 not out against Alastair Cook's men in Brisbane showed how dangerous he can be with his secondary suit.
While Kohli and Raina's mountain of runs have grabbed the limelight, Amit Mishra has shown the importance of a quality spinner in cricket's shortest format by collecting seven wickets already. Throw in an economy rate of just 5.50 from his full allotment of overs in each contest and the Aussies will need to come up with a strategy to avoid letting the crafty leg-break bowler keep them at bat.
Given that the edge could well be taken off India's performance by having already qualified and that Australia will be desperate for a win to keep their tournament alive, a Baggy Greens win seems likely here.
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