Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team is set for an epic showdown against five-time champions Australia at the Kennington Oval in London on Sunday. India started their World Cup campaign on the ultimate high with a clinical win against South Africa while Australia extended their winning streak to 10 games with wins over Afghanistan and West Indies. In their previous encounter against the Windies, Australia was boosted by a knock of 92 from Nathan Coulter-Nile batting at No.8 while Mitchell Starc picked up 5/46 to ensure Australia had an even or positive win-loss ratio against every team in the World Cup.
Heading into the clash, Australia holds an 8-3 advantage against India in World Cups. They will also head into the contest with plenty of confidence, having recently won a bilateral ODI series in their home den after 10 years and kick-starting a resurgent campaign which has made them World Cup favourites after a torrid 2018. The clash takes place at the Kennington Oval and for Indian cricket fans, it will be a 20-year wait for revenge. It was in 1999 at the same venue when India and Australia squared off in the Super-six stage of the tournament.
1999 – Plenty at stake
The clash between India and Australia was a high-voltage one with plenty at stake. Australia had a poor league stage and they managed to scrape through to the super-six stage. India, on the other hand, recovered from a poor start and won three consecutive games to enter the knock-out stage. The stakes were high for both teams. A loss would mean an exit from the 1999 World Cup.
India chose to bowl and Australia reached 282/6 thanks to a gritty 83 from Mark Waugh and solid contributions from Steve Waugh (36), Michael Bevan (22) and Tom Moody (26). All hopes were pinned on Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. However, Glenn McGrath had other ideas and he put in one of the spells of the day.
McGrath got a ball to bounce from a good length and Tendulkar edged to Gilchrist to depart for a four-ball duck. Dravid, who had blasted 145 against Sri Lanka, was trapped LBW for 2 while Ganguly, who smashed 183 against Sri Lanka was undone by Damien Fleming for 8. When Mohammad Azharuddin edged to Steve Waugh for 3 off McGrath, India were 17/4 and out of the contest.
Robin Singh and Ajay Jadeja fought and gave hope to the Indian fans with a 141-run stand. Both were severe on legspinner Shane Warne. Robin Singh smashed 75 while Ajay Jadeja blasted a century but it was too little too late as Australia won the match by 77 runs. India defeated Pakistan and lost to New Zealand to crash out of the tournament. For Australia, they won all their games and entered the final thanks to a pulsating tied match against South Africa in the semi-final. In the final, they steamrolled Pakistan to win the title.
For India and their fans, they would be hoping that history does not repeat itself.