India vs Australia Cricket World Cup
India and Australia are set to play to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final on Nov. 19 in Ahmedabad. Twitter

Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has termed India the "best team" of the ongoing Cricket World Cup ahead of the final.

India, the hosts of the World Cup 2023, are set to take on five-time champions Australia in the final on Sunday (Nov. 19) at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium. After the Men in Blue dismantled New Zealand in the first semi-final, Australia clinched a nail-biting victory over South Africa, who once again failed to cross the semi-final stage in the prestigious tournament.

Mitchell Starc: We want to take on the best

At the post-match conference, Starc was asked if Australia were looking forward to facing India at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the largest cricket stadium in the world with 130,000 seating.

"It's why we play the game. We want to take on the best. They've been the best in the tournament so far and we both find ourselves in the finals. So that's what World Cups are about. You want to take on the best throughout and we certainly come up against a team that has obviously led from the front through the tournament and they're undefeated," Starc replied.

India and Australia took on each other in their opening fixture of the World Cup 2023 in Chennai, with the hosts emerging as winners. "We played them in the first game of the tournament, now we get to take them on in the last. So yeah, what a place to be at the end of a World Cup," added Starc, who remained not out on 16 off 38 in Australia's three-wicket win over South Africa.

The upcoming India vs Australia match is a repeat of the 2003 final, where the Ricky Ponting-led Aussies had thrashed Sourav Ganguly's India by 125 runs in Johannesburg.

Australia and India in World Cups

Notably, the last time India won the tournament was also at home in 2011, when MS Dhoni led from the front to take the hosts to glory. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 91 off 79 as India chased down Sri Lanka's target of 275 with six wickets to spare on April 2, 2011, in Mumbai.

The Indian team are set to feature in their fourth Cricket World Cup final, having won the tournament twice in 1983 and 2011.

Australia, meanwhile, remains a main force in the sport, having won the tournament in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015, and lost two finals (1975 and 1996).

On Thursday, a superb start from Aussie pace duo, Starc and Josh Hazlewood, saw South Africa go four down for just 24 runs, with both fast bowlers making two dismissals each. Starc struck in the first over itself, sending South African skipper Temba Bavuma back for a four-ball duck. The in-form Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram were also removed soon after that.

South Africa's experienced man David Miller stepped up to the occasion with a century that took the Proteas to a respectable total of 212 runs.

While the target was not mammoth, the chase was not a cakewalk for the Aussies. The Australian batters struggled against South Africa's spinner in the semi-final on Thursday. Out of the seven wickets that fell, four went to the spinners.

When Starc was asked if this would be a cause of concern ahead of the final, the fast bowler replied: "I guess we'll find out when we get to Ahmedabad tomorrow and see if it's a fresh wicket or an old wicket."

India finished the group stage as the only unbeaten side and are currently on a 10-match winning streak this tournament. Australia, on the other hand, started the World Cup with two back-to-back losses but have won every game since then.

India star batter Virat Kohli, who recently became the first player to score 50 ODI centuries, is the leading scorer in the ongoing World Cup with 711 runs in 10 games at a stunning average of 101.57. Among bowlers, India's Mohammed Shami and Australia's Adam Zampa are at the top two spots, with 23 and 22 wickets respectively.