Chennai: Thoroughly outplayed by Australia A in the league stage, India A will have to play out of their skin to upstage the in-form team from Down Under when the two sides clash in the ODI tri-series final here tomorrow.
A barely fit South Africa are out of contention after losing all their matches, done in to an extent by the food poisoning which left 10 of their players hospitalised.
India have made the final owing to massive wins over this beleaguered side. Against Australia A, however, the story has been one of disappointment.
Neither the batting nor the bowling has been quite upto the mark against the Aussies barring a couple of players, who have sparkled.
Opener Mayank Agarwal has been one such bright spot with a tally of 377 runs from four matches to be placed on top ahead of Aussie Joe Burns (228 runs) in the leading run-getters list in the tri-series. Mayank, in fact, played out a sensational 176-run knock against South Africa A today in the team's final preliminary match.
Skipper Unmukt Chand (211) has also got three fifties in four games but failed to fire in the team's previous league match against the Australians.
These two in-form batsmen will shoulder the major share of responsibility but the troika of Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav will also have to deliver against a very sharp Australian attack.
The Australian attack has been in fantastic form and has mastered the conditions like no other. The pace-spin combination of Gurinder Sandhu and Ashton Agar occupy the top two spots in the highest wicket-takers' list of the tournament.
While Agar is in pole position with 10 scalps, five of them coming against India in the previous match, Sandhu has six to his credit.
Add to this, their batsmen have also displayed splendid form with skipper Usman Khwaja, Burns and Callum Ferguson delivering as expected.
Given the consistency with which Australia A have so far performed in the tournament, they would definitely start as favourites but the hosts might just spring a surprise.