The caravan of the India tour of Australia moves to its T20I leg with the first game of the three-match series set to take place at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Thursday (December 04).
After having been mauled in the first two games of the just-concluded ODI series, Team India finally pulled one back courtesy of an all-round performance in what was effectively a dead-rubber in Australia’s capital city.
The Men in Blue will now look to take the momentum in a format in which even though they have been accused of playing conservative cricket, they have done pretty well in the past 12-14 months. Since losing the T20I series 0-2 to the Aussies on home soil in early 2019, Team India is yet to drop a bilateral rubber, winning handsomely against West Indies (3-0 & 2-1), Bangladesh (2-1), Sri Lanka (2-0) besides drawing with South Africa (1-1) and whitewashing New Zealand 5-0 in their own den.
That said, India’s batting line-up will once again be under scrutiny considering the fact that the batting-unit consists of players with the same style of play. The focus will be on the make-up of the middle-order. It will be interesting to see if Sanju Samson gets a look in the playing 11 or do they go with Manish Pandey.
With Hardik Pandya unlikely to bowl, it will be interesting to see if India bolsters their playing 11 with an additional bowling option in the form of Washington Sundar, given the fact that Ravindra Jadeja is a certainty in the playing 11 due to his batting form.
If Virat Kohli’s men does go down that route, then one of Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, and Sanju Samson might have to make way. Yuzvendra Chahal will serve as the lone wrist-spinner while Deepak Chahar- India’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is since August 2019- should slot in the side. It will be interesting to see if India rotate one of their main bowlers in Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. If that happens, then T Natarajan may once again find a place in the playing 11.
As far as Australia is concerned, Mitchell Starc is likely to make a comeback in the side after missing the last ODI due to injury.
Moises Henriques is likely to slot in the middle-order while Matthew Wade should replace the injured Warner at the top of the order.
Barring the series defeat in England back in September, Australia haven’t lost a T20I rubber since losing to South Africa at home in 2018. Their last home T20I series against India ended in a 1-1 stalemate, which they backed up with a 2-0 route of Virat Kohli’s in the latters den in early 2019.
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