3 things India need to do right to defeat Australia in 3rd ODI
Team India will take on Australia in the third and final ODI of the three-match series at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Wednesday. The Men in Blue have already clinched the series and will now be keen to complete a clean sweep by winning the third ODI as well.
After registering a five-wicket victory in the opening ODI in Mohali, the hosts followed it up with a 99-run [DLS method] thumping of the Aussies in the second match in Indore.
On a terrific batting surface, the Men in Blue posted 399/5 courtesy of tons from Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer - the latter silencing critics with a much-needed big score. Significantly, Suryakumar Yadav also came up with another big knock.
The third ODI, which will see the return of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and a couple of other seniors, will be crucial for both sides as it will be their last international game before the World Cup, which begins in India on October 5.
In the build-up to the Rajkot ODI, we look at three things Team India need to do right to complete a clean sweep.
#1 Play with the same intensity as they did in the first two matches of the series
There will be a few changes to the Indian team that took on Australia in the first two matches and registered comprehensive wins.
While KL Rahul captained in the first two games, Rohit will be back at the helm for the decider. Kohli and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav too are available for the last ODI.
On the other hand, opener Shubman Gill, all-rounders Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya, and pacer Mohammed Shami won't feature in the match.
India must make sure that the changes in personnel do not affect their momentum. No side would like to head into a World Cup at the back of a loss and that too at home. As such, India must make sure that they play with the same intensity as they did in the first two games.
It is often said that playing for the nation is motivation enough for any athlete to give his best irrespective of the circumstances. It is easier said than done though. There have been numerous instances in the past when teams have taken it easy in a dead rubber and have paid the price for the same.
Considering what is coming up, the Men in Blue cannot afford to relax in Rajkot.
#2 Don’t give Australia any chance to fight back
While India were excellent in both batting and bowling in the second ODI in Indore, there were a couple of phases during which they were found wanting.
First, Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer slowed down as they approached their respective hundreds. Due to this, the hosts scored only 52 runs between overs 20 and 30 although they did not lose a single wicket.
On the bowling front, the Men in Blue had Australia on the mat at 140/8 in the 21st over. However, the Indian bowlers looked completely clueless as Sean Abbott (54 off 36) took them on, smashing four fours and five sixes. Abbott and Josh Hazlewood (23 off 16) added 77 for the ninth wicket.
India did not suffer due to the lapses in the second ODI as they were far ahead of the game. However, they cannot afford to give a team like Australia too many chances like that for the champion side would definitely make them pay at some point or the other.
#3 Improve fielding standards
This is extremely crucial for Team India, not just for the Rajkot ODI, but keeping the bigger picture in mind - the 2023 ODI World Cup.
The Men in Blue dropped a couple of sitters in the second one-dayer in Indore. Even in the first ODI, Shreyas Iyer dropped a simple chance, Rahul missed an easy run out. India’s overall fielding in the series has been below par.
In the Asia Cup as well, India were not at their best in the field. They did emerge champions courtesy of some fine performances with the bat and ball, but fielding is one area they cannot ignore if they want to go on and win the World Cup.