Tomorrow sees the second semi-final of the Cricket World Cup, as undefeated India take on co-hosts Australia at the SCG. I would try and predict the result but that just seems futile when it comes to these sides. All the form in previous meetings would point towards a comfortable Australian victory, but it would be ludicrous to write off India after their performance in the tournament so far.
So I though instead I would offer up some near certainties for tomorrow’s much anticipated clash.
Steve Smith will look awful at the crease. He always does. All shuffling feet and arms that seem only able to move from the elbows down. He’s one of the those players that all club bowlers will know, you look up at the top of your run-up and think ‘I’m in business here’, then he proceeds to take you for an ugly but technically perfect century. And you just can’t quite work out how he’s done it.
MS Dhoni will not get flustered. Somewhere deep inside, the Indian skipper must feel nerves. Pressure. Expectation. He has so often carried the weight of a billion people on his shoulders as if it was as light as a feather. Guarantee that no matter how tense things get tomorrow, Dhoni will not look the slightest concerned.
People will question Shane Watson’s place in the side. No matter if he scores 0 or 100, the majority of the talk while he’s at the crease will be about whether he should be in the XI. Watson has been around the side for about a decade now, and I can never recall a single time when his place has not been up for debate.
If India lose, they’ll be some thinly veiled comments about the IPL. It’s only a few weeks until the IPL gets underway, and if India lose I’m sure that non-Indian pundits may just jump on the bandwagon and claim that somewhere along the line, the IPL is responsible. They won’t know why, but they’ll just feel it.
This is a just a match to see who will be runners-up to New Zealand anyway. The Kiwi’s simply have to win this tournament. They have provided the most thrilling cricket, the most aggressive cricket, the most likeable players and an incredible atmosphere. India and Australia are good sure, but who in their right mind would deny a Kiwi win in Melbourne on Sunday?