Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], November 19 (ANI): As Australia prepares to lock horns with India in the final of ICC Cricket World Cup, a lot of eyes will be on Steve Smith, the team's most premier batter, who has had a dissapointing tournament so far.

India and Australia will go to battle in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday. India will be looking to lift the trophy for the third time while the Aussies will be looking forward to making it their sixth title win.

Smith, who is one-fourth of the 'Fab Four', a group of modern era batting greats consisting of him, India's Virat Kohli, England's Joe Root and New Zealand's Kane Williamson, has not delivered the numbers that justify his status as one of the most elite batters of this era.

In nine matches, Smith has scored just 298 runs at an average of 37.25, striking at a strike rate of just over 81. He has scored two half-centuries, with the best score of 71.

Smith's run of scores has been patchy so far in the tournament and it reads: 46, 19, 0, 7, 71, 18, 44, 63, 30.

In 15 ODIs this year, Smith has made just 435 runs at an average of 33.46, with just three fifties in 14 innings. His best score is 74.

The batter's inconsistent run must be definitely having him under pressure and he could very well flop once again. But that is no reason for Indian bowlers to take Smith for granted as he is a big match player.

Smith has consistently delivered big numbers in Cricket World Cup knockouts.

In 2015, he scored 65 against Pakistan in WC quarterfinals and followed it with a remarkable 105 against India in the semifinal. In the title clash, Smith scored a match-winning knock of 56 and hit the winning runs.

In 2019 World Cup semifinal against England, Smith scored a valuable 85 that guided Australia to a respectable 223, but England won the match and moved to the finals.

In the recent World Cup semifinal against South Africa, Smith made a valuable and patient 30 runs that helped Aussies big time in a tense run chase of 213.

In World Cup knockouts, Smith has scored 341 runs in five innings at an average of 85.25, with one century and two fifties. The big match Aussie mentality comes into the play for Smith and he has often delivered when it matters the most.

Also, in the World Test Championship final against India this year, Smith started off things with a knock of 121 runs and a big partnership with Travis Head that knocked India out of the game in first innings itself.

Will Smith deliver yet another masterclass in a big match? He has no time and opponent perfect than a final against India. In 28 ODIs against India, Smith has scored 1,306 runs at an average of 54.41, with five centuries and six fifties. His best score is 149. Smith's record against India has been incredible and his favourite opponents could just reignite his fire.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (C), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc. (ANI)

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