It was almost considered a given considering Australia’s recent struggles in the limited overs formats, that they would struggle against India on their home turf. So far, this has been proven wrong as the Aussies have dominated the series and given India a really tough fight.
The visitors mauled India in the T20I and won the series 2-0, inspired by some outstanding batting from Glenn Maxwell. They surprised many people with the clinical nature of their performances.
Post the T20I series win, Australia has put on a very good show in the ODIs as well, with them chasing down a mammoth 359 runs in fourth ODI to enter the record books. It’s their consistency that sees them in a far better position than India to win this ODI series.
India, on the other hand, has some series of issues to investigate but unfortunately, they don’t have the time to sort them with the IPL to follow this ODI series. The openers have been very inconsistent, however, their performance in Mohali which would have calmed few nerves.
Virat Kohli's side still hasn’t got clarity on who will occupy number four slot heading into the World Cup, with Ambati Rayudu and KL Rahul failing to make the position their own. Probably the most worrying aspect would be the performance of their bowlers apart from Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.
It is in this background that both sides will lock horns at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium at Delhi for the series decider. Here’s looking at why Australia are favorites to win the series.
#1 Australia have the winning momentum on their side
Coming into the series, Australia wasn't considered favorites to win either the T20I or ODI series against a strong and formidable Indian side at home. It is hard to blame people who wrote the visitors off. While boarding the flight to India, their captain Aaron Finch was struggling to score runs and the side are without David Warner and Steven Smith. In the last year, Australia had only won two ODI games.
However, Australia has played as a team, and the results are there for everyone to see. They outplayed the hosts in the T20I series to win 2-0. In the ongoing ODI series, they have come back from a 2-0 deficit to level the series and registered their highest chase ever.
Cricket is all about momentum and the momentum is with the World Champions at the moment. India is committing far too many mistakes on the field, the wicket-keeping of Rishabh Pant has come under the scanner, and their bowling has performed well below expectations.
Australia will be riding high post the belligerence from Ashton Turner to pull off a memorable win at Mohali and will look to carry that confidence into the series decider at Delhi.
#2 Australia’s batting unit is firing on all cylinders
Australia has found it hard to cope and deliver as a batting unit in ODIs since Steven Smith and David Warner's suspension. The other senior batsmen were far too inconsistent and only Shaun Marsh was putting up some good scores.
But their batting unit has found form and consistency at the right time just before their World Cup title defense. After many failures, Aaron Finch has found form with him hitting two fifties in this series. Usman Khawaja also has come good in India and shown consistency with the bat.
In the middle order, the emergence of Peter Handscomb has really helped the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, and Ashton Turner to play their natural game and show what they are truly capable of.
Successful teams are made of various players coming good at the same time. With their entire top seven in good form, Australia will fancy their chances of clinching the series.
#1 The effectiveness of Australia's bowling attack
Australia is without two of their star bowlers- Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc for this series. However, they have hardly felt their absence, as the other bowlers have chipped in with wickets at regular intervals.
Their bowling attack has extremely impressive with Pat Cummins leading the pack. He has found great support from other pacers like Jason Behrendroff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and the spin duo of Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.
The bowlers have adapted well to conditions and have managed to strike at crucial points in the game. Adam Zampa removing a rampaging Virat Kohli after the stalwart notched up his 41st ODI century at Ranchi is a great example of how Australia have found wickets at the right time.
So far, their bowling line-up has delivered has delivered as a unit and ensured that the likes of Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa are not under too much pressure. If they continue to perform like this, one would bet on them to win the series in the Delhi.