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Australia favourites to meet fellow co-hosts New Zealand in final

The pressure is on tournament favourites Australia (evens) and defending champions India (9/2 outsiders) to reach the final of the ICC World Cup, where the winner will meet co-hosts New Zealand, who saw off South Africa in a thriller.

India eliminated the Baggy Greens from the last finals in the last eight, after a comfortable five-wicket victory, and are tempting 19/10 chances with Coral to beat them again.

However, back in 2011 the Men in Blue had a Golden Generation of superstars, including the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh.

They do still have players such as Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni amongst their ranks, though, and the trio are 13/5, 5/1 and 9/1 to top score for their nation here at in Sydney.

In the bowling department, meanwhile, star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who also featured in that quarter-final four years ago and got figures of 2-52, could be the key at the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground).

Skipper Dhoni talked up his 28-year-old teammate ahead of the crunch clash, saying: “Ashwin is someone I have always loved to have in my side.

“I have always pushed him to bowl in the powerplays and difficult situations. He is really confident about his bowling. He understands his bowling well.

“The good thing with him is he keeps improving himself. Every time he is part of the series, he sees the challenges and accordingly improves.”

Ashwin was the best bowler for India against South Africa and the UAE in Pool B, and is 10/3 to do so again against Australia. Mohammed Shami, meanwhile, has the most wickets this tournament for his team (17), and he is 5/2 in the same market.

But the co-hosts (odds-on 2/5 favourites for victory) have a wealth of batsmen on offer in David Warner, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Glenn Maxwell, who have all taken turns top scoring this World Cup for the Aussies.

They are respective 11/4, 3/1, 4/1, 9/2 and 6/1 chances to get the highest individual knock for their nation once more. Shane Watson is another that has picked up form, and he is a 6/1 shout.

While the Baggy Greens are perhaps lacking in specialist spin options, they do have the pace attack of Mitchell Starc (5/2 to be best Australian bowler) and Mitchell Johnson (3/1). India will need to be wary of Starc in particular, with the youngster already taking 18 wickets this tournament at a stunning average of 9.77.