India v Australia, World Cup 2016, Group 2, Mohali March 26, 2016

Semi-final spot on the line in Mohali

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Match facts

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT)

Play 03:00
Manjrekar: India top four worrisome

Big Picture

And so, here it is. The last game in Group 2, a straight knockout match between India and Australia. They have arrived here not via long and winding roads, but short and parallel ones. Both lost their opening games of this tournament to New Zealand. Both beat Pakistan. And both scraped home against Bangladesh, though not without some palpitations. Now, 12 days after the tournament proper began, the parallels will end, with one of these teams to move through to the semi-finals.

Not that everything has been the same for these two teams. India's selectors have stuck firm throughout the tournament, using the same 11 players in every match so far. Australia have made changes in every match and have used 14 of their 15 squad members, with fast bowler Andrew Tye the only man yet to be chosen.

Australia were similarly unsettled when these two teams met in a three-match series in Australia in January, India using only 11 players (the same 11 from this World T20) and Australia trying a whopping 19 different men. There's flexible and then there's frantic, and it's not clear which Australia have been in T20 cricket recently. They lost all three games to India in that series, yet have done enough to get themselves one match from a World T20 semi-final.

The last time India played at home to Australia in a world event was the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup, when MS Dhoni's men triumphed in Ahmedabad. They went on to win that tournament at home, one of the greatest moments in Indian cricket. If they are to repeat that success in the World T20, they must first get through this quasi quarter-final.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)

India: WWLWW

Australia: WWLWW

In the spotlight

Handling spin has never been a strength of Australia's, and Ravindra Jadeja will turn the ball away from a batting order heavy on right-handers. Jadeja is India's leading wicket taker in this tournament (though with only four to his name that may not be saying much) and will hope to find whatever turn there is in a Mohali pitch expected to be on the slow side.

James Faulkner occupies an extremely important role for Australia in this tournament, his batting key during the late stages of an innings and his bowling offering an important point of difference, as Australia's only left-arm seamer. His use of the slower ball earned him a five-for against Pakistan, and at the same venue he would be dreaming of the same kind of performance against India.

Team news

India have not changed their side so far in the tournament; don't expect them to start now. An unchanged XI is almost certain.

India (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Yuvraj Singh, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ashish Nehra

Australia have ummed and ahhed in this tournament, unsure whether to stack the team with allrounders or trust the specialists, and their batting order has been constantly changing according to the team balance. It is just possible the batting group may stay the same for this game, though Nathan Coulter-Nile must be under pressure to retain his spot in the attack having failed to take a wicket in three games this tournament.

Australia (possible) 1 Usman Khawaja, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 David Warner, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Shane Watson, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Peter Nevill (wk), 9 Adam Zampa, 10 John Hastings/Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Josh Hazlewood.

Pitch and conditions

There were plenty of runs in the Mohali pitch against Pakistan when Australia made 193 for 4, and spin played less of a role than it has at some venues. A slowish surface is again expected, and it must be noted that by the time the men walk out for the toss the pitch will already have been used for 40 overs, with the India Women and West Indies Women playing on the same pitch in their match earlier in the day. The forecast for Sunday is good.

Stats and trivia

  • India have won the past five T20s between the sides, with Australia's last win having come at the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka

  • Against Pakistan, James Faulkner became the first Australian to claim a five-wicket haul in a T20 international

Quotes

"This format requires you to be at the top of your focus and concentration for 120 balls with the bat and on the field as well. That's the only thing we can look to do."

India batsman Virat Kohli

"I suppose that's what I've learnt over my whole career - it is a very important game but really you've just got to put it in the context that it's just another game."

Retiring Australia allrounder Shane Watson puts things in perspective

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 28, 2016, 11:08 GMT

    Sorry to disappoint BD, Lankan, Aus fans. Bye bye...

  • HDG1978 on March 27, 2016, 14:22 GMT

    Australia's start in the knockout match today reminded me of the 2003 WC final. Am an Indian and would want India to win. But for Dhoni's sake and the future of Indian cricket post the WC,hope we have a repeat of the 2003 WC final result.No changes to the Indian XI despite a string of batting failures for Dhoni's fave 3(Dhawan,Rohit and Raina) really sucks. An extra spinner would have been handy despite batting friendly conditions.Hate you MSD. NZ has been the best team on view and should go on to win their 2nd ICC tournament after the 2000 ICC KO Cup in Kenya. It is going to be shameful for all 4 SC teams as none of them are going to qualify for the SFs in a WC in the subcontinent (India).

  • SultanofSwing007 on March 27, 2016, 13:47 GMT

    Let's see what India is really made of today. Aussie is no pushover like Pakistan. And the pitch has been tailor made for their batsmen. Not a level playing field (no pun intended). Good luck to both teams. Hope it is entertaining!!

  • nishar86 on March 27, 2016, 13:45 GMT

    my favourite team australia.............

  • justanotheropinion on March 27, 2016, 13:39 GMT

    OZ win the toss, it will be interesting. The scale has tilted in their favour 7:3. Game on.

  • Cricinfouser on March 27, 2016, 13:38 GMT

    Most Australian Cricketers Played IPl There have a good Experience to played Indian condition that it is a main reason most Non Asian team successfully these t20 tournament ...but Real Story Indian Team now very poor ...thanks to god beating Bangladesh

  • Safa04 on March 27, 2016, 13:38 GMT

    go India go....win dis one....all d best men in blue

  • android_user on March 27, 2016, 13:29 GMT

    if India loses this game, it would be a sad and Humiliating exit for all the Asian Teams, that would make 0/5 in the Semi Finals.

  • Outside-off on March 27, 2016, 13:23 GMT

    I am a kiwi fan but this match is the biggest of the tournament. This is for many fans a final. Strange pool allocation but there go. Just shows there is still integrity in cricket & you should not try to manipulate things all the time in pursuit of the "dream" final. T20 has proven to be a good thing because we fans are all edgy as hell trying to decide who will win this thing. I can't say for sure. What i can say is both teams are strong enough to win the whole thing. & both teams have enough chinks in the armor that they can be tipped out of the comp quick smart. New Zealand proved that but ppl in glass houses.. I know. :) good luck to both teams!

  • matchfixerpkn on March 27, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    afgan is asias no. one team if not definetly second ..chears...they almost made england to loose ..and s africa got no clue agaisnt their batting ...srilanka wre searching for their ball ....

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