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Cricket World Cup: India v Australia preview

Australia get their World Cup campaign underway on Sunday with the toughest of tests when they take on tournament hosts and favourites India in Chennai.

The Baggy Greens go into the global competition buoyed by a warm-up victory over Pakistan, while they also won the final match of their series in India, having previously lost five ODIs in a row to India and South Africa.

A number of injury problems have hampered their build-up to the World Cup, with left-arm spinner Ashton Agar having to be replaced in the final 15-man squad by Marnus Labuschagne, and they are 2.30 to get off to a winning start.

WhatIndia v Australia
WhereMA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
When18:30 (AEST), Sunday 8th October 2023
How to watchFoxtel, Kayo
OddsIndia 1.61, Australia 2.30

Morale lifted by recent wins

Not so long ago, Australia suffered a run of five consecutive defeats in ODI cricket, but their last couple of completed matches have been far more positive.

Half-centuries from David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Steven Smith and Labuschagne and a four-wicket haul for Glenn Maxwell were the standouts in a 66-run win over India in Rajkot, before rain saw their warm-up clash with the Netherlands fail to be completed.

A 14-run success against Pakistan in a high-scoring affair in Hyderabad completed preparations, with Maxwell top-scoring with 77 and Labuschagne grabbing three wickets with his part-time leg-spin.

Those performances have certainly given Australia a much-needed lift after a run of losses and opener Warner - 4.33 to be Team - Top Batter on Sunday - is in prime form, having made a century and four 50s across his last seven ODI innings.

Skipper Pat Cummins recently told India Today: "He is taking the game on and getting the innings off to a good start, so, I'm expecting a great tournament from Dave."

Warner has averaged 51.04 against India in 50-over cricket and an even more impressive 52.27 in the recent series in India.

Team news

The big team news ahead of the showdown in Chennai has come out of the India camp, with budding superstar Shubman Gill having been struck down by illness and looks set to miss the match.

Left-hander Ishan Kishan is the most obvious candidate to step in at the top of the order alongside skipper Rohit Sharma, with all-time great Virat Kohli a lock-in at number three.

KL Rahul is also an option, as the tournament hosts seek to fill a gap left by the absence of the leading run-scorer in the Indian Premier League and the Asia Cup, with Gill having made four centuries and a double in ODI cricket in 2023.

Another concern for India is that both of their warm-up fixtures were washed out, but they remain 1.61 to open their campaign with a win and are 2.75 to lift the World Cup on home soil.

For all of their concerns ahead of the tournament, Australia now seem to have just a few niggles to contend with, having signalled that the off-spin of Maxwell will be used as a frontline option alongside leggie Adam Zampa.

Maxwell has only recently returned to action after injury problems, but has shown what he is capable of with both bat and ball since then, he is 6.00 to be Team - Top Batter on Sunday, while he is to be 6.00 to be Team - Top Bowler.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis is the major concern for the Baggy Greens due to a hamstring injury which has seen him sit out since the first of thee three-match series against India.

Previous meetings

The recent record between these two sides is very even, with 34 ODI meetings from 2015 onwards seeing 17 Australia wins, 16 India victories and one no result.

Over all ODIs played against India, it is 33 victories for the Baggy Greens and 32 for the hosts with five no results, so there is little to choose from between these two teams from a historical perspective.

Finally, Australia and India have faced off just three times previously in Chennai, with the tourists taking the honours by 21 runs in the most recent clash in March of this year, with Zampa player of the match for his 4-45.

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