Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are on the cusp of a phenomenal achievement in Australia. India have not lost a Twenty20 International series in Australia since 2008. That game in Melbourne was a one-off with India getting bowled out for 74. Since that period, India have drawn two series and have whitewashed Australia 3-0 in 2016. Their head-to-head record stands at 13-8 in 22 Twenty20 Internationals against Australia. If they win against the hosts in the second match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, they will become the first side to win two Twenty20 International series in Australia.
The win in Canberra might have been controversial, but it also showed India’s fighting spirit to get out of jail. They suffered a middle order collapse after a solid start by KL Rahul’s fifty. Yet, Ravindra Jadeja’s batting, which has been on the upswing since the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, bailed them out of trouble. Although he was replaced by Yuzvendra Chahal as a concussion substitute, something which the Australians objected to, the legspinner took three wickets and aided by T Natarajan, India won the match by a close margin.
Indian cricket team’s depth
Rahul at the top and Jadeja at the lower-middle order gives the Indian batting line-up a sense of completeness. However, for the second game in Canberra, they will welcome back Jasprit Bumrah after he was rested. His addition is a total game-changer for India, having taken 27 wickets in IPL 2020. Yuzvendra Chahal will be in the starting line-up this time and with Washington Sundar and T Natarajan having a great day, the Indian bowling looks brilliant.
India might not be too worried about the batting line-up as they have buffer even in the form of Hardik Pandya. Virat Kohli is one knock away from reaching a big score after falling cheaply to the legspin of Mitchell Swepson.
Australia’s death overs approach in both batting and bowling cost them the game in Canberra. Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc leaked 46 runs in three overs at the death overs and it proved costly for them. Australia are missing the firepower of David Warner, with D’Arcy Short not scoring aggressively. The middle overs collapse even for Australia meant they could not get a big boost in the death overs until it was too late. Unless they improve their death bowling, Australia will struggle against India’s power-hitters.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul(w), Virat Kohli(c), Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, T Natarajan
Australia D Arcy Short, Aaron Finch(c), Matthew Wade(w), Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitch Swepson, Sean Abbott/Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Match: Australia vs India
Date and Time: December 6, 2020, 1:40 PM IST
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney