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World Cup 2019: 3 Australian players that India must be wary of

Steven Smith on his way to a composed 73 against the West Indies
Steven Smith on his way to a composed 73 against the West Indies
Rahul Motipalle

India vs Australia is arguably the fiercest rivalry at World Cup 2019. In fact, this rivalry is arguably much more exciting than the traditional rivalries of Australia-England and India-Pakistan, at least as far as the shorter format is concerned, and more so in World Cups. In three out of the last four World Cups, one of these two sides has been the nemesis of the other, with Australia undoubtedly having the upper hand.

When Sourav Ganguly and co. were decimated by the Kangaroos in the finals of the World Cup 2003, India bounced back strongly in these two teams' next 50-over World Cup encounter in 2011. Yuvraj Singh starred in a superb run-chase to send the Aussies packing in the quarterfinals itself. When these two sides met again in the semifinals of the World Cup 2015, Australia batted first and set an insurmountable target of 329.

This was always going to be too much for the Men in Blue considering the strong Australian bowling lineup and the pressure of the semifinals. It is no surprise that all of the aforementioned three World Cups were won by either of Australia or India. In fact, India is the only non-Australian team to win a World Cup after 1996. Out of the last five World Cups, Australia has won four, whereas India has won one.

Against the backdrop of such a fierce rivalry between these two sides, there have been some standout performers for Australians who love to prove a point against India and enjoy being the Men in Blue's nemesis time and again. Let us have a look at 3 such Aussies.

#3 Steven Smith:

Steven Smith was the architect of Australia's victory over India in the semifinals of the World Cup 2015. He scored 105 off 93 balls and thus put an end to all Indians' dreams of winning a second World Cup on the trot and a third World Cup overall.

In the ODIs played between these two teams after WC 2015, Smith has scored 457 runs from 10 outings at an average of 45.70, that includes a high score of 149. If India wants to have the last laugh against Australia in their league encounter, they just cannot allow this wily ex-captain of Australia to settle down.

Also read - Highest team total in world cup

#2 Usman Khawaja

West Indies attacking Khawaja with short-pitched bowling
West Indies attacking Khawaja with short-pitched bowling

It was not until Steve Smith and David Warner were banned in 2018 that Usman Khawaja bagged a permanent role in the Australian limited-overs setup. Originally touted to be the premier batsman for Australia in the longer format of the game, Khawaja proved that he could be equally dangerous for the opponent teams in ODIs too.

In the 8 ODIs against India that Usman Khawaja has featured in so far this year, he has scored 497 runs at a superb average of 62.12, which includes two centuries in winning causes. Khawaja has an average of 88.50 in the 4 ODIs that Australia won against India this year, indicating the importance of his contributions to the success of the Australian side. India will be looking to take a cue out of West Indies' book and attack with some quality fast short-pitched bowling in order to negate this threat.

#1 Pat Cummins

Will Cummins fire again against India?
Will Cummins fire again against India?

The Australian vice-captain has turned out to be the biggest nemesis for India in the recent past. An express pace bowler who can use the long handle to decent effect towards the end of the innings, Pat Cummins is the complete package any team would kill to have. In the 10 ODIs that he has played against India since his comeback in 2017, he has taken 18 scalps at a miserly economy rate of 4.66, making him the bowler with most wickets and lowest economy rate for an Australian against India after the 2015 World Cup.

While Mitchell Starc is the more talked about bowler between the two bowlers who constitute the current Australian opening bowling duo, Cummins is the more understated customer who quietly destroys the opposition and disappears. In fact, even in India's landmark Test series victory 'Down Under' earlier this year, it was Pat Cummins who calmly and coolly showed the most resistance (much more than the top and the middle order) amongst the Australians while batting.

Edited by Sai Teja

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