2nd ODI Cricket Preview – India v Australia
Thursday September 21, 6pm AEST – Eden Gardens, Kolkata
|Top Batsman Australia||David Warner ($3.70)|
|Top Batsman India||Rohit Sharma ($4.00)|
|Top Bowler Australia||Nathan Coulter-Nile ($5.00)|
|Top Bowler India||Bhuvaneshwar Kumar ($5.00)|
Australia started the first ODI in the best possible fashion by dismantling the Indian top-order before fantastic rearguard action by MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya took the game away from them. The batting let them down spectacularly and a few difficult questions will have to be answered quickly going forward.
Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni saved India the blushes in the first match in a performance that was extremely erratic. Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order looked unsure, as did Virat Kohli against the swinging ball.
It’s clear that Australia is going to bowl wide outside the off-stump to him and try to get him out nicking to a wide slip or gully. Like the Wolf called, this Indian side has some serious batting issues right now which are being papered over by some great individual performances. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be the key wickets once again as India tries to find dependable players for at least three top-order slots.
The Wolf is backing Rohit Sharma to be the top run scorer in this game. He was able to spend some valuable time in the middle and absolutely loves batting at Kolkata, his self-professed favorite venue. The last time he batted here was in 2014 when he scored his world record 264.
His record against Australia now boasts an average of 66.25 across all venues and over 24 innings with 5 centuries and a best of 209.
The Kolkata pitch is also one that has been relaid to offer a lot more bounce and assistance to the seamers. This is why the Wolf thinks that Bhuvaneshwar Kumar could be a handful with the swinging new ball and his yorkers at the death.
He bowled 4 overs for 25 runs in the first match and was very impressive in the manner with which he stopped David Warner from getting away. That tussle could once again be key to the outcome of this match.
Steve Smith after the last match said that they lost because they tried too many new things and deviated from set plans. The Wolf thinks they lost the last match because of some poor planning that did not take the conditions into account.
It’s difficult to see Marcus Stoinis scoring runs in the middle order where he will most likely come up against spin first up. He was successful in the IPL at the top of the order and has been at his best for Australia at that position as well.
James Faulkner has a well-earned reputation as a finisher but his bowling in the death overs is becoming a bit of a liability while his batting is often left unutilized. Maybe Kane Richardson would be a better option especially in a venue like Kolkata where the extra bounce and pace in the pitch could make him a handful.
Hilton Cartwright at the top of the order also seems to be something of an experiment that Australia is carrying out right now.
Australia’s spearhead from the last match, Nathan Coulter-Nile, played his IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders. He ended up taking 15 wickets in the 8 matches that he played with the bulk of them coming in Kolkata. That experience and his current form make him the Wolf’s pick for the top bowler for Australia in this match.
There are not too many gaps in this bowling lineup for Australia which will test India regularly in this series.
As far as the batting goes, only Glenn Maxwell’s 18 ball 39 blitz put the Indians under pressure but the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith will not be kept quiet for long. Australia’s fallibility against wrist spin means that it is likely the top scorer will come from the top-order in most matches.
David Warner and Steve Smith are about to play just their second ODI in India, a shocking stat, and the Wolf thinks one of them will make a big score for sure. On the basis of form and IPL experience, David Warner seems to be the man to back here.
Back him to be the top run scorer.
Pitch and Conditions
The current weather forecast for the match day is not too good as plenty of rain seems to be in the area. That could spice the pitch up further if we get some play in. Run-scoring is generally high after the pitch has been re-laid. India and England played the last match here where England batted first and scored 321 runs eventually winning by just 5 runs.
Australia to win.