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Cricket World Cup final: India v Australia preview

The final of the World Cup is upon us and the showpiece finale in Ahmedabad on Sunday sees tournament hosts India take on record five-time winners Australia.

India are strong 1.44 favourites to lift the trophy for the third time, having won every match they have played in the competition to date, including when seeing off the Baggy Greens by six wickets in a group stage clash in Chennai.

Australia opened their campaign with losses to India and South Africa, but have been perfect since then, including taking revenge on the Proteas in a low-scoring semi-final in Kolkata on Thursday.

WhatIndia v Australia
WhereNarendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
When18:30 (AEST), Sunday 19th November 2023
How to watchFoxtel, Kayo
OddsIndia 1.44, Australia 2.75

Routes to the final

Having begun as tournament fancies, India have lived up to that tag by having won ten out of ten to reach their fourth World Cup final and, in truth, they have yet to be extended in any of their victories.

A standout result saw South Africa battered by 243 runs, before India racked up 397-4 in their semi-final against New Zealand, who made a valiant 327 all out in their forlorn chase.

Their first five wins came as they chased, while the second five all came after batting first, so there doesn’t seem to be any weakness whichever the games play out.

Meanwhile, Australia were certainly under pressure after losing their opening two games, but Pat Cummins and co have responded with an eight-match winning run.

Key moments came as they edged home by five runs in a high-scoring thriller against neighbours New Zealand, while Glenn Maxwell’s miraculous double-century in the win over Afghanistan will go down as one of the greatest innings of all-time across all formats of the game.

The confidence gained from getting back to winning ways certainly proved key as the Aussies edged home by three wickets in their low-scoring last-four showdown with South Africa - who are still yet to reach a World Cup final.

Key performers

India’s batters have been all but unstoppable so far, with all of their regular top five averaging at least 50. Shreyas Iyer and Rohit Sharma have both passed the 500-run mark, while Virat Kohli has a tournament-leading 711 runs at an average of 101.57 to his name.

Kohli has passed 50 in eight of his ten innings to date and made a record 50th ODI century in the semi-final win over the Black Caps - he can be backed at 3.60 to be Team - Top Batter on Sunday, while he is 8.00 to be named Player of the Match.

With the ball, seamer Mohammed Shami has been simply outstanding, taking 23 wickets in just six matches at an average of a mere 9.13, including 7-57 in the semi-final victory.

All of India’s main bowlers have performed admirably, with the left-arm spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav a potent partnership.

For Australia, David Warner has led the way with the bat with 528 runs, but the Baggy Greens will surely need more from one or both of Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne if they are to cause an upset in Ahmedabad.

The experienced middle-order duo have made just four half-centuries from 19 innings combined and are striking at a much lower rate than their fellow Australian batters.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa has been the star with the ball, taking 22 wickets to lie just one behind Shami in the overall tournament list.

He struggled in the semi-final, but key pace trio Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood produced their best when it really mattered, while Maxwell’s off-spin has proved to be a key component of the Aussie attack.

He can be backed at 6.00 to be Team - Top Bowler in the final, with Zampa priced at 4.33 and Starc 4.33.

Runs not a given in Ahmedabad

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has already staged four games in the current World Cup, including the tournament opener, which saw holders England routed by New Zealand, who reached 283-1 within 37 overs.

India then saw off Pakistan by seven wickets, before Australia closed out a 33-run victory over England in a tight tussle and South Africa defeated Afghanistan by five wickets.

So, three of those matches were won by the team batting second and the highest total put on the board by a team batting first was the 286 by Australia in their win over the wilting Three Lions.

With that in mind a high-scoring final may not be the order of the day and that could possibly suit the Baggy Greens at 2.75 to seal victory.

These two teams have only played three times previously in a one-day international at this venue, the last of which came back in March 2011, when India won by five wickets, reaching 261-5 with 14 balls to spare.

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