Can India rise to No. 1 again?    AFP
Can India rise to No. 1 again? AFP

India s win at Indore made them the No.1 side in ODI cricket. They failed to play as the best side in Bengaluru, and as a result the ranking slipped to No.2. This is how it works: South Africa have 5,917 points from 50 matches. The rating that determines the spots is calculated by the formula of points divided by matches. South Africa remains at 119.14 rating. India s defeat in the fourth ODI saw them at 5,828 points from 49 games. At 118.94, they are a few decimals behind at this stage.

India will aim for a return to the top spot in ODI rankings when they face Australia in the fifth and final match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground on Sunday.

Middle-order woes for both sides

India have a few heavyweights in their middle-order but the order isn t settled at the moment. With Hardik Pandya batting at No.4, the likes of Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni are reduced to finishers. Australia have a quality bowling attack, and it is never easy to accelerate from the start of your innings. The likes of Pandey and Dhoni need to have quality time at the crease before going full throttle.

We were optimistic with our chances. We got a good opening partnership but we needed one big partnership after that as well. From that point of view, it wasn t a great batting performance from us. That can happen. People have off days, said Indian skipper Virat Kohli after the Bengaluru defeat.

Kohli isn t wrong in putting the blame on batters. Even after the 40th over, India seemed favourites. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Pandya and Kohli have done most of the scoring. They will want others to chip in with adequate support.

Australia can t mask their batting woes behind the win at Bengaluru. A strong start from David Warner and Aaron Finch helped them breach the 330-mark but a 380 odd was on the cards when the duo got going. Quick wickets hampered Australia s progress as India were pleased to restrict them below 350.

A consistent flow to their innings is lacking at the moment.

Australia s 5-4 goal

Australia s win marked the end to their yearlong overseas defeat drought in ODIs. Kohli seem to be inspiring their comeback. In January 2016, India were trailing the ODI series 0-4. Kohli announced that the team s goal now is to win the final ODI, and whitewash Australia 3-0 in T20s to end the tour with 4 wins, making amends for the lost games.

Kohli backed up his words with wins. India won their solitary ODI from that tour at Sydney and came back strong to beat the hosts 3-0 in T20Is. Kane Richardson was one of those responsible for the 4-0. His 5-for resulted in India s defeat at Canberra in the third ODI.

Having taken inspiration from Kohli, Richardson, who has 7 wickets from 3 matches this series, spoke about the team s goal.

I think they lost the first four one-dayers and Virat spoke about winning the last one-dayer and then the three T20s to make it four-all, Richardson told If we can keep winning and get ahead of them in terms of win/loss for the tour that would be the goal.

Likely XIs

Despite the No.1 ranking on sight, India may not field their preferred trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav. India will want to give their benches games too. Though Umesh Yadav leaked runs at Bengaluru, he picked a 4-for. He will be raring to prove a point in front of his home ground, and Shami has a proven record in ODIs.

The only possible change could be KL Rahul coming in for his Karnataka teammate Manish Pandey. Though Pandey has contributed with cameos, he hasn t played a knock of great significance.

Dhoni already has a hundred against Australia at this venue. He averages 134 from 4 ODIs that he has played at Jamtha. A reason good enough for Kohli to allow him to bat at No.5.

India s probable XI: Rohit Sharma (vc), Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul/Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Akshar Patel, Mohammed Shami/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

Will Australia tinker with their winning combination? Probably not. This means Glenn Maxwell will continue to warm the bench. Under heavy criticism, Matthew Wade has received an ultimatum from the selectors.

My performance has been summed up by me getting dropped in the third game, so there is no point sitting up here and thinking about what has already happened, my form with the bat has not been good enough. The selectors have told me that I need to score runs if I need to be picked, Wade told reporters on the match eve.

This might just be his opportunity to seize.

Australia s probable XI:David Warner (vc), Aaron Finch, Steven Smith (c), Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa

Pitch and conditions

The Nagpur pitch has created controversy in the past. Remember the South Africa Test of 2015? Even the pitch backfired Indians. In their game against New Zealand in the 2016 World T20 game, and most recently it came under scanner during the T20I between India and England in January.

The venue will be hosting an ODI after almost 4 years, and the match was between India and Australia. India triumphed in a 350-run chase.

However, the ground has been re-laid and the VCA curator had earlier said that the track will be very sporting and provide equal opportunities for batsmen and bowlers.

The temperature is expected to be in mid 30s along with dryness. A 1.30 pm start can make things worse for players from both sides.


India:ViratKohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel

Australia:Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wk), Peter Handscomb (wk), James Faulkner, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson

Time:1330 IST | 800 GMT