India were touted as one of the firm favourites for the World Cup but the narrative, it is safe to say, has changed in a span of four matches.
Virat Kohli’s men were expected to dominate the ongoing ODI series against Australia, who haven’t won a bilateral ODI series since January 2017. However, the hosts will be under pressure when they face the high-flying Australian team in the series decider at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday.
India have been experimenting with the playing XI in a bid to get their combination right for the 2019 World Cup in the ODI series, which is also their last international assignment ahead of the quadrennial showpiece event, starting May 30 in England and Wales.
However, the experimentation has put India in a spot of bother. The hosts have allowed Australia to claw back into the series after taking a 2-0 lead. Aaron Finch-led visiting team stunned India in Ranchi and Mohali to take the series to the decider.
Ahead of the fifth ODI in Delhi, here are some key numbers involving both the India and the Australia teams.
India have never lost after taking a 2-0 lead in 5-match ODI series
India have never lost a bilateral ODI series consisting of five matches after taking a 2-0 lead. On the other hand, Australia are eyeing an absolute first as the five-time world champions have never managed to win a five-match ODI series after being down 2-0.
The momentum is certainly on Australia’s side leading into the fifth ODI as they had stunned India, recording their highest-ever ODI run-chase in the fourth ODI on Sunday. Ashton Turner smashed 84 from just 43 balls while taking India bowlers, including death-over experts Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, to the cleaners and helped the team gun down a 359-run target.
Finch seeks to end Australia’s 10-year-drought
Meanwhile, Aaron Finch will be bidding to become the first Australia captain in the ongoing decade to win an ODI series in India. Australia last won a bilateral ODI series in India in 2009-10 season when a Ricky Ponting-led visiting side thrashed India 4-2 in a seven-match series. Australia’s last trip to India saw the visitors face a 4-1 defeat in 2017-18.
India’s good record in series deciders
History though favours India as the hosts have won six of their last eight series deciders in ODI cricket. Since the 2015 World Cup, India have lost the deciding match of an ODI series only twice — against South Africa at home in 2015-16 (3-2) and against England on the road last year (2-1).
India 3:1 Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla
India can also take heart from their record in the capital city. The Asian giants have won 12 out of 19 ODIs played at the Feroz Shah Kotla. In four meetings against Australia, India have managed to win three with their only loss coming in 1998.
Can Kohli break another Tendulkar record?
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has an opportunity to break another Sachin Tendulkar record on Wednesday. Tendulkar holds the record for the most ODI runs scored at Feroz Shah Kotla (300 in eight matches) and Kohli needs only 99 runs to go past his idol.
Notably, Kohli had smashed back-to-back hundreds in the second ODI in Nagpur and third ODI in Ranchi. However, he was dismissed cheaply on Sunday after he walked in to bat at No. 4 in a bid to accommodate KL Rahul at No. 3.