India will be under pressure from the weight of fans, media and all corners of the host nation when they get their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign up and running against Australia this Sunday.
As the host nation and the number one ranked side in the world, the expectation has rarely been higher for a nation to deliver, especially in front of a home crowd. After England were hammered by New Zealand in the tournament opener in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, both India and Australia will be looking to get their campaign off to a winning start.
India have not won a World Cup since 2011, and even Sachin Tendulkar spoke during the tournament opener on Wednesday about how sometimes the team have to remember that hundreds of millions are behind them rather than sitting on their shoulders.
Australia lost the pre-tournament series in India against Rohit Sharma’s side, but as the England defeat to New Zealand has shown, the bilateral series results can have little effect on the outcome of a World Cup clash. India will also be hoping their side is up to full fitness.
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India vs Australia
India vs Australia will be the biggest match of the 2023 Cricket World Cup so far, and many could argue it should have been the opener.
While debate during England’s defeat to New Zealand raged around the gaps in the stands, with only about 20-30,000 estimated, leaving the 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium largely unoccupied. That will not be the case on Sunday, with a sell-out expected as the tournament lifts to the next level.
Both sides have small fitness concerns, with Shubman Gill having missed training in the week, reportedly from a fever that could be dengue.
For Australia, there could be an anxious wait over the fitness of Marcus Stoinis, who picked up a hamstring issue in the pre-tournament series against India, while Travis Head is set to miss the early stages of the World Cup.
Sonia Twigg6 October 2023 16:16