Men’s ODI WC: We know the blueprint now if on bowling first, says Hazlewood ahead of final against India

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Kolkata, November 17 (IANS) Australia fast-bowler Josh Hazlewood believes his team has now got a blueprint of how the bowling line-up has to fare if they get to bowl first against India in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.

Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc struck with their Test-match like line and length to South Africa to 24/4 quickly, setting the base for a tense three-wicket win in the semi-final at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

The five-time champions have marched into their eighth Men’s ODI World Cup final happening on Sunday, which is also a re-match of the 2003 World Cup finale against India in South Africa.

"It's huge, and the bigger the game the more important it becomes. We spoke about that, we seem to start really well with the ball when we're bowling second, probably more so than bowling first. So, there was a big emphasis on that tonight."

"We talked about (Wednesday) in a meeting and jumped out of the blocks firing tonight, which was very pleasing. So, we know the blueprint now if we're bowling first, and hopefully go again on Sunday," said Hazlewood to cricket.com.au.

Australia had met India in the tournament opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on October 8, where they lost by six wickets despite reducing the hosts’ to 2/3 in the first two overs. A 165-run stand between an unbeaten 97 from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli slamming 85 took India home in a chase of 200 to start their ten-match winning streak.

"I think they're all across the board really. They've got good quicks, good spinners, good batters so they're ticking every box. I guess we saw a few cracks when we played them in Chennai chasing a small target, we were lucky enough to get a couple early. But there's no real weaknesses as we've seen," added Hazlewood.

Australia had previously played in Ahmedabad, where they won over England by 33 runs. "I guess that's the beauty of having so many grounds in one country that - from north to south, east to west – they're all a little bit different."

"You adapt your bowling, adapt your batting to those conditions and we saw tonight it really spun and for us it nipped around early. We played England at Ahmedabad and the wicket was pretty good without being an absolute flat track, so I expect probably something similar to that," added Hazlewood.