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ICC World Cup: Australia to face New Zealand at HP Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala

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In ICC World Cup, Australia will face New Zealand today in Dharamshala in the ICC World Cup. The 27th match between these two teams will start today at 10.30 am.

For once even Marnus Labuschagne was distracted after he’d put his pads on to go have a hit in the nets. Or you could say it took a glimpse of the snow-clad Himalayas for Marnus Labuschagne to finally get distracted from a batting stint. So much so that he dropped his gloves, pulled his phone out and made sure he got both a portrait and a landscape image of the inimitably scenic mountains at the back of the HPCA Stadium. And then, not surprisingly, he spent the next 45 minutes in the net.

Labuschagne wasn’t the only Australian player to indulge in the “when in Dharamsala” routine on Friday (October 27) morning though. Even if he was among the few in the team to be on their maiden visit to the HPCA Stadium. Like Pat Cummins would say, “as you saw, as soon as we got off the bus, everyone goes right out the front, gets their phone out, starts taking photos. You just got to do it.” And it’s only understandable that coming to this beautiful venue, forget playing here, will never lose its novelty, even if you are like David Warner or Glenn Maxwell, who have made multiple trips to this part of India.

The New Zealand players though didn’t spend any time clicking pictures and instead got into their practice routines straightaway. They’ve after all been in Dharamsala for nearly a week now already, and not just got used to being in the foothills of the Himalayas, and the clean air, but also the conditions on offer at the HPCA Stadium. To the extent, you even saw the chief curator of the ground exchange a hug with head coach Gary Stead, not something you see very often, even if Stead is a rather affable man. It hasn’t been all fun and games for the Kiwis in Dharamsala. They are just coming off their first defeat in the World Cup, in a largely hard-fought contest against the high-flying Indians. And they now have the prospect of taking on a team that they’ve only rarely brought out their best game against in a World Cup scenario. Their 3-8 record against Australia is testament to that, even if you are of the type that dismisses match-up records that stretch across different eras. And having made a flying start to their campaign, they wouldn’t want to have another slip-up and potentially give up their third spot on the table along with a chunk of that significant momentum they’d built up in the first two weeks.

Australia on the other hand have done that very Australian thing of recovering from a poor beginning with a vengeance and as Cummins said, beginning to play a brand of cricket that this team in particular has prided itelf on.

“Our group’s big on talking about the style that we want to play, and I think in the first two games not only did we not win, but I think we didn’t really nail the style that we wanted to play. I think in the last few games you’ve seen us be a bit more aggressive – batting and bowling. Bowling- everyone’s been really open-minded, tried different things; trying bouncers, different fields, one over spells and it’s just been a real buy-in from the whole team and yeah, it’s been fantastic last few games. That’s a standard we want to keep going with for the rest of tournament,” he said.

That standard only seems to be getting higher with every game as they’ve demonstrated in the last 11 days since they’d hit the bottom of the table. And you’d back them at the moment to continue on that run, and return to the plains with one last picture here with the Himalayas in the background, of them celebrating another World Cup win against the Black Caps.

Squads:

Australia Squad: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis(w), Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Sean Abbott, Travis Head

New Zealand Squad: Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham(w/c), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, James Neesham

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