India is heading into its final game before the home ODI World Cup after a week of noteworthy achievements. Originally intended as a dress rehearsal for their opening World Cup clash against Australia in Chennai on October 8, this fixture poses a challenge due to India’s severely depleted squad. However, the return of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli provides a boost as they seek India’s first-ever ODI series whitewash against Australia, aiming to build momentum for the marquee event.
Australia considered one of the World Cup favorites, has experienced contrasting form. Their arrival in India followed three consecutive ODI losses to South Africa, with two additional losses in India. Sean Abbott attributed Australia’s struggles to a lack of execution, despite certain positive aspects in their play. While another loss may not greatly impact Australia’s overall World Cup prospects, a victory in Rajkot on Wednesday would significantly boost team morale as they prepare for their challenging opener in Chennai.
- Match: India vs Australia, 3rd ODI
- Date: September 27
- Time: 13:30 IST
- Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Weather and Pitch Conditions: Expect a sunny day with temperatures reaching around 35 degrees Celsius in Rajkot. The venue typically offers a flat pitch that favors batsmen. In four out of six ODI innings played here, the 300-run mark has been surpassed. The last ODI at this ground in January 2020 featured India scoring 340 and Australia responding with 304.
- Despite Rohit Sharma’s return as captain, the Indian team faces significant squad limitations, with only 13 players available for selection.
- Depletion of the squad is due to player rest, personal commitments, injuries, and a viral fever affecting some squad members.
- Notable absentees include Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, and Shubman Gill.
- Essentially, Rohit Sharma has only 12 players to choose from.
Probable XI – India: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
- Australia welcomes back their regular captain, Pat Cummins, and left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc.
- Glenn Maxwell’s availability is also possible.
Probable XI – Australia: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
- Rohit Sharma boasts an impressive ODI batting record against Australia, with an average of 59.23, featuring 8 half-centuries and 8 centuries against this opponent.
- Since 2022, Mohammed Siraj has been a standout performer in the PowerPlay phase, accumulating 32 wickets with an outstanding economy rate of 4.16 during this period.