If the heart-palpitatingly exciting semi-final of the cricket World Cup—between South Africa and New Zealand—was a battle between two underrated sides who are known for their sportsmanship and a tendency not to get involved in some of the nastier aspects of gamesmanship, then Thursday’s semi-final between Australia and India is not only the clash of the titans of world cricket today, but a battle royale between two eight-hundred-pound gorillas, who love nothing more than thumping their chests, bellowing about how tough they are, and letting the opponent know just who’s boss. India and Australia have a lot to boast about: batsmen who can plunder the ball; a strong pace attack; batting all the way down the order; a huge and vocal fan-base; and money, money, money. Australia and India are the teams with box-office appeal—the teams that everyone will look to to provide the kind of in-your-face entertainment and drama that animate the Big Bash and the IPL—the two Twenty20 tournaments that command the most global attention—and that will bubble throughout this one-day international. For one night, the comparison will not be between cricket and baseball, but cricket and American football: big plays, lots of attitude, and a whole load of testosterone. We at Right Off the Bat expect fireworks throughout the contest, and not just at the end of the game, the result of which is just too hard to predict.
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