India look to tweak Oz tale

India look to tweak Oz tale

India look to tweak Oz tale

In the last 27 months, Australia have lost just four of the 28 one-day internationals played on home soil. But in the World Cup, India have won 11 matches on the trot.

It is the irresistible force up against the immovable object in the second semifinal of the 2015 World Cup, and the winner will play New Zealand in the final on Sunday.

Until 2011, no home side had ever won the World Cup. Sri Lanka, co-hosts along with Pakistan in 1996, did go all the way, but the final was played in Lahore.

India bucked that trend four years ago at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, clinically dismantling the Islanders while riding on match-defining knocks by Gautam Gambhir and Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

With New Zealand already through to the final, the pressure will be on Australia to emulate their co-hosts and set up a Trans-Tasman final.

Under normal circumstances, Australia on home turf would have started as overwhelming favourites, but this World Cup has been anything but normal.

India came into the 2015 edition after a middling Test series against Australia and a very poor campaign in the triangular series that followed, in which they lost all three matches. During the tri-series, India looked disinterested and out of sorts, but under Dhoni, India have invariably hit top gear in global competitions in the last eight years.

Out of nowhere, India staged a wonderful run in the 2013 Champions Trophy, then reached the final of the World T20 in Bangladesh last year. This time around, they have hit peak form at the World Cup right from the start.

Maintaining the momentum generated by their 76-run win over Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15, India stacked up a seven-match winning streak thanks to consistent performance from the batsmen and the brilliance of the bowling attack led by the incisive Mohammad Shami.

The fact that at least 70 per cent of the 50,000 strong crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground is expected to be totally partisan, Australia could well be exempted for believing that they are the away side.

Though the 4-time world champions have better credentials in cricket’s biggest tournament, India, in recent times, have proved to be the masters of the big stage. This semifinal sure has all the trappings of a humdinger.

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