Two-time champions India are now one step away from achieving their destiny – of winning the Men’s ODI World Cup trophy. In the tournament, India have been a dominating force, making a mockery of the opposition teams with both batting and bowling.
Come Sunday, and they will be meeting five-time champions Australia in the final, an opposition they defeated in their tournament opener in Chennai on October 8. For the Indian cricket fans, it is a re-match of the 2003 World Cup final clash between the two teams.
Here's a SWOT analysis of the Indian team ahead of the 2023 World Cup title clash:
Skipper Rohit Sharma is giving aggressive starts with the bat, amassing 550 runs so far and his astute captaincy as well as rotation of bowlers has meant India are the only unbeaten team in the competition.
Other batters like Virat Kohli (711 runs, leading the batting charts), Shubman Gill (346 runs), Shreyas Iyer (526 runs) and KL Rahul (386 runs) have been crucial to India’s domination with the bat.
In the bowling department, India have been an unstoppable force, with Mohammad Shami dismantling the opposition batters and leading the wicket-takers chart with 23 scalps. Jasprit Bumrah (18), Ravindra Jadeja (16), Kuldeep Yadav (15) and Mohammad Siraj (13) have clicked to keep India on top in the bowling side of things.
In what has been a flawless campaign for India, there are some pockets of weakness. In the absence of Hardik Pandya, India have been using mainly five bowlers, though it gave some bowling practice to Rohit, Kohli, Gill and Suryakumar Yadav in their final league match against the Netherlands.
If one of the bowlers is leaking runs, then India don’t have much backup options to fall back on and stem the run flow. Moreover, with Australia’s bowling unit on top of their powers, the batting line-up will have to be cautious of them.
Like in the tournament opener at Chennai, India were reduced to 2/3, before Kohli and Rahul bailed the team out of trouble. A slip-up situation like this in the final is something they need to be wary of.
India are in prime position to win the trophy and maintain the tradition of host nations winning the title in the last three editions of the Men’s ODI World Cup. Considering their top form, absolute knowledge of the home conditions and the incredible fan support, it’s a great chance for Rohit & Co to break the 10-year-old trophy drought.
For Rohit, who missed out on being a member of the 2011 World Cup winning team, it will be a great redemption arc if he wins the 2023 World Cup trophy. For others, including Kohli, it will become a lifetime memory which they will savour for years to come.
This is not the same Australia side India met in the tournament opener in Chennai. That time, Australia looked a little less settled and were unable to keep Kohli and Rahul in check with the ball after the initial stage.
The Australia they will meet in the final are on an eight-match unbeaten streak and they become a different beast in the knockouts, which was on display in the semi-final win over South Africa. Australia being a ruthless force again means India have to be on their toes in the final, otherwise the wait for getting the trophy will be extended.