At the start of the ODI series between India and Australia, no one would have thought that the last ODI at Delhi would be the series decider. More so, after India took a 2-0 lead after the first two matches.
Australia has shown tremendous fighting spirit to come back from a 2-0 deficit to level the series at Mohali. Now, the series moves to New Delhi for the decider with all to play for both the teams. In the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, Australia has found new heroes in Peter Handscomb and Ashton Turner.
On the other hand, India was playing to their full strength barring Hardik Pandya. However, Vijay Shankar filled in the void quite admirably. But the one player that India would still miss badly at Delhi would be the unparalleled M.S. Dhoni.
It seems the time has now come for the Indian players and the fans to mentally prepare themselves to visualize an Indian team without the great MSD. Thankfully for India, he will be definitely around for the World Cup.
Coming back to the series on hand, the momentum is certainly with Australia after their back-to-back wins at Ranchi and Mohali. At the same time, India is no pushovers at home. The Indians have certain factors going in their favour. This article is about 5 such favourable factors for Team India.
# 5 The openers returning to form
The only positive for India at Mohali was the welcome return to form of both the Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan who scored a total of 41 runs in his last 5 ODI innings, managed to score 143 delightful runs at Mohali. Dhawan’s form is crucial for India at Delhi and in England.
Compared to Dhawan, Rohit had aggregated 60 in his last 5 ODI innings before his innings of 95 at Mohali. The openers put on 193 runs which led India to a formidable score of 358. The only problem with the Indian openers was that of late they invariably failed while chasing.
The welcome return to form of the Indian openers augurs well for Team India in the decider at Delhi.
#4 Virat Kohli’s sublime form
Captain Kohli is in sublime form in this series having scored 2 centuries. He is the leading run-scorer in the series with an aggregate of 290 runs at an average of 72.50. The only time he failed in the series was in the fourth ODI when the openers came good. Now that the Law of Averages has by now caught up with Kohli at Mohali, one could expect yet another decisive innings in the series decider.
Kohli would, of course, miss Dhoni the batsman. But batsmen like Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav have played their supporting roles to perfection in the series. Rishabh Pant could contribute if he succeeds to maintain a balance between caution and aggression in his batting approach.
The moment Indian batting clicks, everything falls in place and the team certainly looks a much better unit. The batting might should cover up the inadequacies of bowling.
With both the captains likely to opt to chase, it could boil down to the batting strengths of both the teams. In that context, the comparative current form of the top 3 from either side should tilt the outcome in India’s favour.
#3 The Indian spinners could come into play at Kotla
The Feroz Shah Kotla wicket traditionally favours the spinners more with its slow nature and low bounce. It was here that Anil Kumble took all the 10 wickets in an innings in a Test match against Pakistan.
In such a scenario, the Indian team is better equipped than the Aussies to force a result in their favour. Besides, the dew factor is not likely to have the same impact as in Mohali which would bring the spinners into play.
At Kotla, Jadeja has been the most successful bowler for India having taken 7 wickets in 5 matches at an economy of 4.06. Both Kuldeep and Chahal are yet to play an ODI at Kotla.
At Kotla, India has a 60% success record having won 12 out of the 20 matches with one match ending in no-result. India has won the last 4 of the 5 matches played at Kotla.
The traditional nature of the Kotla pitch and India’s success record at the venue should favour India in the crucial decider on Wednesday.
#2 India’s impressive home record in bilateral ODI series
In the last 10 years, India has won 62% of the ODI matches played at home. But when it comes to winning the bilateral ODI series at home, that percentage goes up to 85.
In the last 10 years, only South Africa and Pakistan have managed to beat India in a bilateral ODI series at home. India has won 17 of the last 20 bilateral ODI series at home. In this period, India had beaten all International teams except Pakistan. India topped it all by winning the World Cup at home in 2011. The Indians are invincible at home in bilateral ODI series.
This statistics only goes to prove how difficult it is for the visitors to win an ODI series against India in India. Besides, the Indians had the knack of winning an ODI series at home in which the last match of the series happened to be the decider.
#1 History in favour of India in deciders at home
This is not the first time that the Indians are finding themselves in a must-win situation to save an ODI series at home.
In the last ODI series against West Indies, the Windies were in with a chance of levelling the series going into the last ODI with a score of 2-1 in favour of India. But India bundled out the Windies for 104 to win the last match by 9 wickets and the series 3-1.
Before that, in the three-match series against Sri Lanka in December 2017, Sri Lanka took the lead by winning the first ODI at Dharamsala. India won the next ODI at Mohali by 141 runs. With the series tied 1-1, India once again saved a home ODI series by winning the last ODI at Visakhapatnam by 8 wickets and the series 2-1.
New Zealand, like Sri Lanka, took an early lead in October’2017 and still India came back to win that series 2-1. Even in October’ 2016, New Zealand met with the same fate with the series locked at 2-2. India won the last ODI by 190 runs.
The last time an ODI series was tied 2-2 against Australia in 2013, Rohit Sharma scored a double hundred in the decider at Bengaluru.
From the above statistics, it is quite clear that whenever the Indians were pushed to a corner in the form of a decider at home, they had come back with a vengeance by winning the deciders by huge margins.
The decider in the ongoing series against the Aussies at Delhi on Wednesday could be no different.