JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
October 7, Saturday; 19:00 IST
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The main picture
Before the five-ODI series got underway, we speculated if the forthcoming Ashes series will be a distraction for Steven Smith and co. And, while we saw no suggestions of a possible distraction—Pat Cummins played all five One-Day Internationals, for example, even after the series had been lost with the defeat in Indore—the battering dished out by India and their own poor performances are likely to have dispirited Australia to a point where they might have little to no fight left in the tank. But, in his post-match interview after the fifth ODI, the Australian captain said, “We’d like to go home with a trophy,” indicating that he and his team are looking ahead to this T20 series and have the aim of avenging the ODI series defeat.
The likes of Andrew Tye, Moises Henriques, Tim Paine, Daniel Christian, and Jason Behrendorff, who are in the T20 squad, can be expected to bring fresh energy and provide a different dimension to what was available to Smith during the ODI series. Christian, for example, will provide the coveted balance to the side as a pinch hitter and seam-bowling all-rounder; Tye is familiar with the Indian conditions and is a T20 specialist; Behrendorff is not only a good replacement for Cummins but also provides the left-arm angle and the subsequent variety to the bowling attack.
The top and middle order batting will remain largely the same from the ODIs and David Warner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, and Glenn Maxwell need to overcome their troubles against spin and slow bowling to allow themselves and the team to fare a lot better.
Australia, needless to say, can expect no favours from a buoyant, ambitious Indian team. Virat Kohli and co. will certainly not relent and play this T20I series with the same intensity and ruthlessness as shown in the 4-1 ODI series victory. India have only been reinforced by the return of Shikhar Dhawan, who has replaced a batsman who didn’t find a place in the T20 squad even after scoring four successive half-centuries in the ODI series, Ashish Nehra’s inclusion gives the captain and the team management an additional and reliable bowling option, and Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be even more threatening in the T20s.
India vs Australia head to head in T20 Internationals
Team India have a dominant head-to-head record over Australia in the Twenty20 format, winning nine of the thirteen T20Is. They have also won each of the last six clashes, a run which began back in October 2013.
Australia have never beaten India in a T20I on Indian soil!
IND: WLWWL (last five T20Is, from left to right)
1st T20: India vs Australia playing XI
Shikhar Dhawan, having returned to the squad, will be a like-for-like replacement for Ajinkya Rahane and he is one of the two possible changes to the Indian playing 11 from the final ODI. Yuzvendra Chahal missed the Nagpur ODI due to illness and presuming he has recovered fully, he is likely to replace Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah potentially retaining their places in the XI.
Possible India playing XI for 1st T20: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, and 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Actual Indian playing XI: Possible India playing XI for 1st T20: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, and 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Australia’s 13-man T20 squad has five changes from its ODI counterpart. And, while the batting line-up will largely remain the same, the bowling attack and the wicketkeeping position will have a shake-up.
Update: Steven Smith will play no further part on this tour due a right shoulder injury and will return to Australia to take rest. Moises Henriques will replace his captain and bat at No. 3. David Warner will lead Australia.
Possible Australia playing 11: 1 David Warner (c), 2 Moises Henriques, 3 Aaron Finch, 4 Travis Head, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Daniel Christian, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Jason Behrendorff/Kane Richardson, 10 Andrew Tye, and 11 Adam Zampa
Actual Australian playing XI: 1 David Warner (c), 2 Moises Henriques, 3 Aaron Finch, 4 Travis Head, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Daniel Christian, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Jason Behrendorff, 10 Andrew Tye, and 11 Adam Zampa
Australia certainly face a challenge to start afresh, leaving behind the morale-denting ODI series defeat. But this is the format in which you don’t have to complicate matters, from a batting perspective. Impact is all that matters and Australia aren’t short of impact players like Warner, Maxwell and Head, all of whom may finally be able to play their natural game. The composition of the Indian side is unlikely to be a lot different from what they fielded match after match in the ODIs. And, given the psychological edge they hold over the visitors, India start this T20 series as favourites, but an Australian backlash is not out of the question.