Australia are clearly not the favourites to win against India on Sunday © Getty Images
Australia are clearly not the favourites to win against India on Sunday © Getty Images

We’re at the final stages of ICC World T20 2016. With three semi-finalists already known in New Zealand, West Indies and England, the final one will be the winner of the Group 2 match between Australia and India. It is a repeat clash of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015’s semi-final that had seen Australia go past India and eventually lift the trophy for a record fifth time. While they have been the most successful team in the One-Day format, their scenario has been different in the shortest format of the game at the international level. Their trophy cabinet is still deprived of a World T20. With two consecutive victories against Bangladesh and Pakistan, Australia finally show positives ahead of their virtual quarter-final against India. Steven Smith will mostly go with an unchanged playing XI after their victory over Pakistan. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, Match 31, ICC World T20 2016 at Mohali

Top-Order: After being ignored for the first two fixtures of World T20, Aaron Finch was finally included in the team against Pakistan. Australia dropped Mitchell Marsh to bring back the World No.1 Twenty20 International (T20I) batsman to strengthen their struggling top-order. He along with Usman Khawaja will still maintain the left-right combination with David Warner coming at No.3. The bad patch of skipper Smith was one of the major situations to worry about which is why he was dropped a position down to make way for Warner.

Warner, who is a good hitter of the new ball will be under pressure to make it work on a day where Australia have no option but to win the encounter. And the result will depend to a great extent on how Warner does with the bat. If it’s his day, Warner will explode which surely will be a bane for India. However, ever since they have removed Warner from the opening spot, this World T20 is yet to witness his best. Meanwhile, Khawaja, who has been the leading run-scorer for Australia in this tournament so far, has been in a great touch which is good news for them. He is the only Australian to have 100-plus runs from three matches. India surely will have a separate plan for these two.

Middle-Order: The Australians who fall next in the line-up are Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson and James Faulkner. Smith, who suddenly was at the end of criticism for his poor series of T20I scores, finally delivered for his side on an important day, their do or die match against Pakistan. He scored an unbeaten 43-ball 61 which led Australia to a huge total of 193. Smith and Watson’s fifth wicket stand of 74 off 6.2 overs eventually became the turning point before Faulkner snatched the lime-light in the second innings with a mind-blowing fifer.

Faulkner is easily one of the best finishers the Australians have found in recent times. He has played unbelievable innings towards the end of an innings to win a match for Australia from nowhere, and he has the capability to repeat those knocks. However, what makes him a crucial player in the side is his contribution with the ball. Faulkner’s bowling strengthens the Australian bowling attack, which lacks experience at the moment. His five wickets against Pakistan will boost his confidence to a great extent when he’ll walk into the Mohali field to probably play one of the most important T20Is of his life.

Lower Order: The likes of Peter Nevill, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile come in next. Nevill, who is in the squad purely in the wicketkeeping role, has not been up to the mark with the job behind the wickets. When Nevil has been brought ahead of the experienced Matthew Wade despite having played only six T20Is, he surely needs to step up and prove his worth. Australia need him to do so because the opposition probably have the best keeper of the world at present—MS Dhoni, which will add on as a pressure to Australia.

However, Zampa has managed to find some form on the Indian soils just in time. He has managed to maintain his economy below seven so far along with picking five wickets. Those breakthroughs were very timely and eventually turned out to be match-winning for Australia.

Australia’s likely XI: Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith (c), Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Peter Nevill (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa.

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)