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6 head-to-head player battles that could decide the 2023 World Cup Final

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Last Updated on 6 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: 6 head-to-head player battles that could decide the 2023 World Cup Final | A look at the key player battles that could decide IND vs AUS CWC 23 Final

India and Australia are set to contest one of the most highly anticipated ODI World Cup Finals. 20 years on from heartbreak, Indian fans who witnessed the 2003 Final will be hoping Rohit Sharma’s team inflicts revenge on Australia en route to a third title for the nation.

India start as undoubted favourites, but Australia is the team that could test them. Pat Cummins’ side have won eight in a row since the poor start to the tournament, and it must be remembered that the Aussies reduced India to 2/3 at Chennai. But, India have gone from strength to strength since, and will definitely be a tough nut to crack in front of over 100,000 fans at Ahmedabad.

2023 World Cup Final: Six player battles that could decide the big match

If Australia are to win, they need to win key head-to-head battles. The same applies to India. Here are six that could decide the 2023 World Cup Final.

Josh Hazlewood vs. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli has had a magnificent tournament, hitting the most runs in a single edition. He currently has 711 to his name at an average of 101.57, including an excellent 85 against Australia in the group stage, before hitting a record 50th century against New Zealand in the semi-final.

So, not only do Australia need to get him to the crease early, but they need to see the back of him rather quickly. Easier said than done. However, in Josh Hazlewood, Australia have hope. The seamer has dismissed India’s great batsman five times for 51 in 88 balls in ODIs. Also, if you recall, Kohli was dropped off his bowling on just 12 earlier in the tournament, which would have reduced India to 20/4 and given Hazlewood figures of 3/11 at that stage.

Mitchell Starc vs. Rohit Sharma

If Australia are any hope in this final, they need to put India on the backfoot in the powerplay. Mitchell Starc, who had a quiet group stage, came close to his best in an excellent opening spell against South Africa. Indeed, Australia need him to be at his best against Rohit Sharma who is in imperious form.

Much of the success of India’s batting lineup can be put down to Rohit’s impact. The captain has been outstanding in the powerplay, where he has clobbered 354 runs at a strike rate of 133.1. If he produces a similar kind of innings in the final, India will be very difficult to catch.

Starc has dismissed Rohit three times in ODIs, but the opening batsman averages a solid 48.7 with an excellent strike rate of 103.5. But, if Starc can find swing on a good line, it will test both Rohit’s inside and outside edge. Both will have an attacking mindset, so it promises to be a fascinating battle.

Adam Zampa vs. KL Rahul

KL Rahul is also in magnificent touch. He has made the number five position well and truly his own, delivering impactful innings both when India are in tough and strong positions. One such example was his magnificent 97* to lead India to victory against Australia at Chennai after he walked in at 2/3.

For Australia, the onus is on Adam Zampa to deliver. The legspinner has had some success against Rahul in the past, dismissing him four times for 133 runs in 138 balls. It could – and should – have been five in the bilateral series between the teams before the World Cup, where Zampa dropped a simple chance off his bowling against Rahul.

It promises to be an interesting battle between the two, no matter the circumstances. If Rahul is in early, Zampa will be key in keeping the pressure on. If Rahul comes in after an excellent start by India, Zampa will be tasked with good bowling at the backend; a role he has become accustomed to in ODIs.

Jasprit Bumrah vs. David Warner

Incredibly, Jasprit Bumrah has never dismissed David Warner in ODIs. Warner has struck 117 runs in 130 balls without dismissal in the format, and Australia will be hoping that continues in the final.

However, this is a battle where past numbers may not dictate what happens on the day. Bumrah has been simply outstanding in the powerplay in this World Cup, conceding a remarkable 3.14 per over. So, he is in pole position to keep Warner – who strikes at 107.7 in the powerplay – as quiet as possible.

If Bumrah doesm’t dismiss Warner but keeps him quiet, it can set things up for Mohammed Siraj or Mohammed Shami to take his wicket as Warner may look for a get out of jail shot. If Warner gets away, he can afford to ease into his innings and look to bat deeper. Huge battle.

Ravindra Jadeja vs. Steve Smith

Steve Smith has not been anywhere near his best in this World Cup. However, he is a big-game player and enjoys the challenge of playing spin. His battle against Ravindra Jadeja is a huge one given the left-arm spinner had his measure at Chennai earlier in this World Cup.

The key for Smith is his footwork. If he is willing to get down the track and meet the ball at its pitch, he is a chance of getting close to his ODI career strike rate of 111 against Jadeja. In fact, Smith also averages 118.1 with just the two dismissals.

However, Jadeja is bowling as well – if not better – than he ever has in ODIs. He is conceding just 4.25 in this tournament, and will be looking to get the better of both Smith and Marnus Labuschagne to expose Australia’s middle-lower order as soon as possible.

Kuldeep Yadav vs. Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell is a player who can swing the final in Australia’s favour. India have seen that before in T20 cricket, while we all saw it recently against Afghanistan.

If he gets going, who knows what can come of it. So, Rohit and India may be well served introducing Kuldeep Yadav when Glenn Maxwell walks out to the crease. Maxwell has been dismissed twice against left-arm chinaman bowling in this World Cup, with both Kuldeep and Tabraiz Shamsi prizing his wicket in identical fashion with Maxwell looking to pull a good length delivery and having his leg-stump knocked back.

The key for Kuldeep will be limiting Maxwell’s room with protection at deep midwicket. If he wins this battle, India will go a long way to winning this World Cup title.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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