A scrappy India will have to lift their game by several notches against an improving Australia when the two fierce rivals clash in a virtual quarterfinal cricket match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 at Mohali.
India, who were the overwhelming favourites going into the tournament, have been far from convincing in the three games they have played so far.
The inaugural edition champions began their campaign with a 47-run crushing defeat against New Zealand before bouncing back with a six-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan.
But the home side would have found themselves in a precarious situation if it was not for a self destructive Bangladesh and a brilliant sprint run out from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the previous game which they won by a mere one run.
Australia, on the other hand, have been improving with every game and a convincing win against Pakistan in a must-win match here yesterday have prepared them well for another knock-out battle.
James Faulkner and Shane Watson think playing India in their own backyard is the ultimate challenge but the home team also knows they have a daunting task at hand tomorrow.
India, however, will take confidence from the fact that they blanked Australia in Australia in the three-match series in January even though they played against a different squad then.
In any case, another close contest is expected between the two tough rivals at the I S Bindra Stadium which is expected to be fully packed.
India’s star-studded batting have been below par starting with the performance of openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who are yet to fire in the competition.
Star batsman Virat Kohli will be key to India’s chances again but the others too need to rise to the occasion.
Suresh Raina scored a 30 against Bangladesh but he is facing the heat alongside Yuvraj Singh, who will have the added pressure of performing at his home ground.
The bowlers have done a decent job especially the spin combine of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.