Australia defeated India in the semi-final of 2015 Cricket World Cup, when the two sides last met in a World Cup game
India's quest for glory will face a stern test in formidable Australia, forcing Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri to put their thinking caps on and contemplate a tactical rejig, as one of World Cup's most storied rivalries resumes at Kennington Oval in London on June 9.
India were clinical in their six-wicket victory against a depleted South Africa, while Australia, who have raised their game in the last couple of months, were professional against Afghanistan and brilliant in their come-from-behind victory against the West Indies.
Having struggled in the recent past after suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia finally seemed to have picked their pieces and are playing exactly like five-time champions are supposed to.
This will certainly be a cause of worry for India, who lost their ODI series at home during the last bilateral encounter and are still in search of a perfect combination both in batting and bowling departments.
In fact, Australia's batting coach Ricky Ponting is expecting a shift in strategy from the Indian team, who have, of late, rattled the Aussies with quality pace bowling.
"Do they go with only one spinner and use (all-rounder) Kedar Jadhav as a second spinner and play another fast bowler?" Ponting contemplated in an interview with cricket-com.au.
"We'll worry about that in the next couple of days and make sure the boys are prepared," he added.
In the last series, the Australians effectively nullified India's spin attack led by Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, on the flat sub-continental decks, without Warner and Smith.
Skipper Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja also got a grip of Kedar Jadhav's side-arm off-spin and this will certainly force the captain and coach to explore options.
With the presence of the two talismans in the opposition ranks, India may have to tweak their playing XI, keeping the Oval pitch and the overcast conditions in mind. They have already served warning signals with a half-century each in their first two games.
Mohammed Shami, who was dropped from the playing XI against South Africa, is likely to return to the playing XI.
Shami was dropped purely for strategic reasons because of the Proteas' inability to counter the two wrist spinners.
But the current Australian team could be more susceptible against the pace of Jasprit Bumrah and the craftiness of Shami.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who looked rusty during his first spell against South Africa, was impressive in the second, securing couple scalps.
In case India decide to retain both the wrist spinners and get Shami in the playing XI, then Bhuvneshwar will have to make way.
And in case one of the two spinners is dropped, then Chahal, despite his four-wicket-haul might make way for Kuldeep, who has had better success rate against the Australians.
It must be recalled that Chahal played only one game against Australia, at Mohali, in the home series, and gave away 80 runs in 10 wicketless overs.
Kuldeep is expected to be more effective because of the bounce and dip that he generates, not to mention his stock delivery that will leave the left-handers.
The other issue could be Kedar's place as his side-arm off-breaks may just not be as effective on an Oval pitch that generates good bounce and may leave him susceptible to leaking runs.
In that case, Vijay Shankar, with his wicket-to-wicket seam-up stuff and steady batting, could come handy. Kedar has had problems against raw pace and disconcerting bounce, which an in-form Mitchell Starc will dish out in abundance.
The other issue will be Shikhar Dhawan's prolonged bad patch. Dhawan is yet to fire since coming to England, failing in both warm-up games and the first game of the tournament.
The movement off the pitch from back of length has created problems for the left-hander and he might get a couple of more games before Rahul is brought up the order and Shankar is slotted at number four.
Where to watch live: The match starts at 3 pm IST. It will be broadcast live on the StarSports network in India. Online viewers can log in to Hotstar for all the live action.
Venue: Kennington Oval, London
Pitch Report and conditions: The pitch will offer consistent and true bounce. The ball is expected to come on to the bat nicely which will help in scoring quick runs. Conditions are expected to be overcast.
Team News: Neither Virat Kohli nor Aaron Finch is facing any injury issues in their respective squads.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Alex Carey (wk), Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa.
Players to watch out for
David Warner (AUS)
Australian opener David Warner had a rare off day against West Indies. Warner will be raring to go big against India. The dynamic opener has an excellent conversion rate in ODIs which is evident from his 18 fifties and 14 hundreds. Indian bowlers should be mindful about the threat Warner brings to the table.
Rohit Sharma (IND)
Rohit Sharma showed against South Africa why he is one of the best batsmen in the modern iteration of the game. In difficult batting conditions, Rohit scored an unbeaten hundred to guide India home. With his opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan struggling to get runs, onus can once again be on Rohit's broad shoulders to get India big runs.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Other popular bets on the match can be checked on oddschecker
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