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India and Australia will play their 150th one-day international when both teams open their World Cup campaign in Chennai on Sunday.

AFP Sport marks the milestone with a look at five unforgettable encounters between the two powerhouses of cricket.

Desert Storm – April 22, 1998

Sachin Tendulkar unleashed his magic against Australia in Sharjah with a knock for the ages.

The batting great hit 143 off 131 balls to tear into the Australian bowling that included Damien Fleming, Michael Kasprowicz and spin wizard Shane Warne.

After a sandstorm hit the city and suspended play for nearly half an hour, India’s target was revised to 276 and they needed 235 to qualify for the final of the three-nation event.

India fell short of the target but Tendulkar’s masterclass ensured they made the tournament decider on net run rate ahead of New Zealand, the third team in the competition.

India went on to beat Australia in the final two days later with Tendulkar scoring another century.

Close call – November 5, 2009

Tendulkar kept up his form against Australia more than a decade later when he smashed 175, albeit in a losing cause in Hyderabad.

Ricky Ponting’s Australia posted a mammoth 350-4 riding on big knocks from Shaun Marsh (112) and Shane Watson (93), but their bowlers withered under Tendulkar’s onslaught.

Despite Tendulkar’s 141-ball blitz and a 59 by Suresh Raina, the rest of the batting collapsed and India fell short in the chase by three runs.

“It was one of the amazing games and certainly one of the best innings ever from Sachin,” Ponting said afterwards.

Knockout punch – March 4, 2011

The heavyweights clashed in the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup in India and the hosts aced the knockout game despite skipper Ricky Ponting’s 104.

Chasing 261 for victory in Ahmedabad, India rode on fifties by Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir before Yuvraj Singh anchored the chase with his unbeaten 57.

The win buoyed India, who went on to beat Pakistan in the semi-final and then Sri Lanka in the final to lift their second World Cup title after 1983.

Man of the match Yuvraj said the pressure of playing against Australia “was something else”.

Batting blitz – October 13, 2013

In a run feast at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Virat Kohli stood tall with his unbeaten 100 off just 52 balls — India’s fastest ODI ton to date.

India’s top three bulldozed the Australian bowling in their successful chase of 360 with Rohit Sharma top-scoring with an unbeaten 141 and put on 176 runs with fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan (95).

But Kohli gtrabbed the headline with his blitz that included eight fours and seven sixes to flay the opposition attack led by Mitchell Johnson.

Skipper George Bailey, now Australia’s chief selector, later praised India’s “awesome batting” that eclipsed his own unbeaten 92.

Sweet revenge – March 26, 2015

Australia avenged their 2011 loss to India in Sydney four years later when they hammered M.S. Dhoni’s team by 95 runs in the World Cup semi-final, courtesy of a Steve Smith century.

Smith smashed 105 off 93 balls to guide Australia to 328-7 after skipper Michael Clarke elected to bat first.

The total proved more than enough as the Indian batting collapsed to 233 all out despite a fighting 65 by Dhoni.

James Faulkner took three wickets while fellow quicks Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc claimed two each.

Australia went on to humble New Zealand in the final for their record fifth World Cup crown.

by Faisal KAMAL

©️ Agence France-Presse

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