CricInfo at World Cup 1999
[The ICC Cricket World Cup - England 1999]

Australia v India, 4 June 1999

by John Houlihan

Why you should watch: This is the opening Super Six game and with both teams occupying the lower reaches of the table on a resounding zero points, a fascinating clash is absolutely guaranteed, with to need to secure the two vital points on offer paramount. Simply put, neither side can afford to lose.


For a team which many consider the finest Test playing nation in the world, Australia have had an extremely indifferent start to the World Cup. Losing to New Zealand, relying on a last minute qualification to the Super Sixes and even attempting to engineer the Windies' run rate will not have figured in the Aussies' game plan, but it's a brave man who writes the men from down under off prematurely and there were signs against the West Indies, that at last they're starting to find a return to form.

Last minute injury worries over Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn will be a concern, but their strike force will be led as usual by the ultra hostile Glen McGrath who showed some of his true ability against the Windies and will now probably retain his new ball place. Backed by Damien Fleming, Shane Warne and a host of talented all-rounders, their bowling has the variety and depth and to cope with all eventualities. On paper, they have an enviable batting line-up which hasn't quite lived up to its potential yet, but with the Waugh twins backed by the likes of Darren Lehman, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and arguably the finest One-Day batsman in the world Michael Bevan, they certainly have the firepower to set huge totals or chase any target. Australia certainly won't have figured on entering the Super Sixes at the foot of the table, but the all round depth of their squad is impressive and they certainly have a habit of coming good on the big occasion, so it wouldn't be a surprise to find them sneaking through to semi's.


Like Australia, India had a poor start to the competition, but their batting demolition of Sri Lanka and a vital victory over England when the pressure was on, may have given them the platform to re-launch their World Cup campaign. India have an array of talented stroke makers at the top of the order and Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been in record breaking form, while India can also draw on a wealth of experience in their middle order from skipper Mohammed Azharuddin and vice captain Ajay Jadeja. Sadagopan Ramesh looked all at sea against England, but Sachin Tendulkar's possible returning to the opening berth will guarantee stability and certainly enormous entertainment at the top of the order if he survives the Aussies' new ball onslaught.

The Indian bowling attack will be headed by the magnificent and much underrated Javagal Srinath, with Venkatesh Prasad and leg-spinner Anil Kumble forming the core bowling trio. Swing bowler Debashish Mohanty staked his claim with a spirited performance against England and supported by Ganguly's medium pace, this pair may have solved the Indian's problem over the fourth and fifth bowling slots. The Indians now face an uphill struggle, as they must win all of their games, including a potentially explosive showdown against Pakistan to progress, and they will be relying on sumptuous batting, led by their touchstone Tendulkar and some solid support from their devoted army of fans to take them forward and ensure qualification.

Aussie player to watch with the bat: Michael Bevan
Aussie player to watch with the ball: Glenn McGrath
Aussie player to watch in the field: Ricky Ponting
Aussie player to watch for comedy value: Shane Warne
Aussie player in yer face: Glenn McGrath

Indian to watch with the bat: Sachin Tendulkar
Indian to watch with the ball: Javagal Srinath
Indian player in yer face: Debashish Mohanty

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