Comparing all the three teams, it is very much evident that Australia holds the slight advantage going into the tournament with their TEAM IMPACT of 3.27 overpowering India’s 2.87 and Sri Lanka’s 2.34.
Going by the IMPACT numbers, it seems that Sri Lanka will have a really tough job on their hands to overshadow the other two teams especially in the batting department. The Batting Index calculation for the Top 7 batsmen for Australia shows 2.13, for India it is at 2.07 but for the Sri Lankans, well they have a really tough mountain to climb if they have to have any chance of salvaging some pride in this tournament. Their batting index of 1.68 is a far cry compared to the other two teams’ batting line up and may find themselves wanting in the batting department. Their shameful 43 run all out act against the South Africans a few days back gives testimony to that fact.
When it comes to impactful hitters, the Indians have surely got a huge advantage. India’s Strike Rate IMPACT of 0.12 is almost the double that of next placed Australia who have a 0.06 IMPACT, Sri Lanka closely follow them with an IMPACT of 0.05.
An all-rounder always determines the elasticity of a team’s line up and it is in this case that Australia are lacking the strong guns. The fact that only Michael Clarke has a batting and bowling index over 1 might be a worry-worry sign for the Australians. India and Sri Lanka on the other hand both have specialist all-rounders in the form of Ravindra Jadeja (although his Batting IMPACT of 0.92 is little short of 1) and Angelo Mathews filling up that spot. Although the Aussies have Mitchell Marsh and Dan Christian as all-rounders in their squad, they both are relatively inexperienced in the international arena and will be severely tested in this series.
All in all, even though it seems that Australia are the slight favourites going by the numbers. This tournament promises to be an evenly battered out cricketing contest. Sri Lanka will completely enter the tournament as the dark horses but counting them out will be the last thing both India and Australia would want to do. The Sri Lankans have always revelled with their underdog tags (remember 1996 World Cup) but having said that their chances of winning this tri-series looks very bleak.
If India wins the first few matches of the tournament then there’s a very good chance that they might end up winning this one. This Indian team thrives on momentum and some good wins in the initial stages of the tournament will definitely augur well for MS Dhoni’s brigade. Australia on the other hand enter as favourites but it remains to be seen whether their inexperienced team can cope up with the travails of a tri-series tournament.
FINAL VERDICT - India and Australia should make it to the finals. India have higher impact players when it comes to Series defining and Big Match ability, thus giving them a crucial edge to win, provided they don’t fail to qualify for finals in the first place.
(For more information, go to www.impactindexcricket.com)