After the grueling Test Series wherein India completely dominated the hosts, the stage is all set for the new-age rivalry between Australia and Men in Blue to resume in the 50-over format. With the 2019 Cricket World Cup around the corner, India will look to test their bench-strength to aid the confirmed probables of the World Cup Squad. The Kangaroos, on the other hand, are still unsure of their playing eleven, and this series would provide them with a chance to test their players against a quality Indian side who are ranked second in the ICC ODI Rankings.
The first ODI is set to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and since it is raining heavily for the past few days in Sydney, it is expected that rain might play a spoilsport on Saturday as well. However, if the game goes ahead then it will be an enthralling contest between the Australian bowlers and the Indian batsmen, with the pitch in Sydney historically favoring the batsmen.
Home Condition – Although the Australian team is struggling at the moment in all forms of the game, one cannot rule them out at their own den especially when they are playing the limited-overs format. The home players have grown up playing the game in these pitches and know the conditions and dimensions of the ground, thus these factors could work in their favor.
Presence of Limited Overs Specialists – Even though the Men in Gold are without Steven Smith and David Warner, yet they have specialist hard-hitting limited-overs players, such as Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, who once set can seize the game within the grasp of their opponents within overs. Australia would be hoping that one of these players play for long in the match, thus helping them post high scores.
Unsettled Batting Line-Up – Since Warner and Smith’s one year-ban, the Australian batsmen except captain Finch have struggled tremendously and this is the reason why Australia are underperforming in this format of the game. There is no player who can play the anchor role for the Aussies, and this is one of the reasons why they are not being able to post big totals.
Top-Order Batsmen on Fire – With the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli at the top of the order, India more than often manages to score big totals. One of the top-3 often plays the anchor innings and the other batsmen’s innings revolve around these three. They are the integral reason why India have constantly dominated other teams in the limit-overs format.
Presence of Quality Bowlers – India possesses a fiery pace-attack along with world-class spinners. Even though Jasprit Bumrah has been rested for the ODI series, yet India have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal at their disposal. These bowlers have troubled batsmen all round the globe in South Africa, England, United Arab Emirates, etc and the same is expected by these bowlers in Australia too.
Lack of Runs from the middle-order – The Indian batting order is so reliant on the top-order batsmen that when all of the top-three three fail, the middle-order batsmen are unable to settle and score big runs, thus India always end-up losing the game. Before the World Cup starts, India should rectify this issue as this may hamper their chance of winning their third ODI World Cup.
Rain is expected to play spoilsport on Saturday, yet if the match is possible then Team CricWizz predicts India to win the first ODI comprehensively with the kind of squad depth that India possesses and considering the inexperienced bowling attack and an unsettled batting order that Australia have into their ranks.