India, Australia ready to script haunting chapter at finals

Ahmedabad: Come tomorrow, two things will be a guarantee.

Should India lay claim to the World Cup, the joy will be deafening as will be the silence if Australia poop’s the host’s party.

And, no other team might be better equipped to disappoint the Indian fans, considering the number of trophies in their cabinet assembled over the period of time. The glimpse of which was there to see during their narrow semifinal victory over South Africa at the iconic Eden Gardens on Thursday.

But several hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi presents the coveted trophy to one of the winning captains, the skies above the stadium named after him will witness an aerobatic display to showcase India’s soft power ahead of general elections, where he is seeking re-election next year.

As professionals, none of this will disturb Team India’s winning-spree in this World Cup as they have won all their 10 matches leading up to the finals.

There have been great scripts over the last few weeks – the giant-killing instincts of Afghanistan and Netherlands, the fall of England, Virat Kohli’s 50th ODI century, and Angelo Mathews’ timed-out dismissal among others.

These fascinating storylines will not fade away, but one debate is fast fading away is the future of ODI cricket. For sure, looking at the fans thronging to the stadium in huge numbers, the cricket experts and ICC officials will not give the ODI format a ditch.

For fans, these issues hardly bothers them, but what bothers them the most is that India is just a game away from lifting the coveted cup, which many believe it is theirs. Kapil Dev and Mahindra Singh Dhoni had done previously, and they will be here tomorrow to witness Rohit joining the elite club if India play to their potential.

India captain himself has given a rollicking start, while Virat has amassed 711 runs at an average of 100 plus, a World Cup record to cherish. He has been the bedrock for India in this event, and is a symbol of New India, which is assertive and non-servile. He has passed 8 fifties in his last 10 innings, and he would not like to let down his staunchest of fans tomorrow.

India’s spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav have been on song, but it is Mohammad Shami who has hogged all the headlines. In only six games, he has a haul of 23 wickets including a record seven-for in the semifinals against New Zealand at the Wankhede.

Australia’s chances may rest on a day-off for all these Indian stars, and yet they realise that they are a unit closest enough to beat India in 2003 World Cup finals. However, they know the margin of error is very thin and plugging that will be their only chance to break billions of hearts, and script an haunting chapter.


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