IND V AUS: Preview (file photo)
We are all set to witness a crackerjack of a series between India and Australia which is scheduled to start on 24thFebruary at Visakhapatnam. It is no doubt that India and Australia are two powerhouses of International cricket. For India, the upcoming series will be the last assignment before the forthcoming World Cup. However, for Australia, the limited overs series will act as an opportunity to continue their winning momentum.
The last T20 series between the teams ended in a draw with rain playing spoilsport in one of the encounters. Series also surrounds a lot of tension as there have been calls that Men In Blue may boycott the game against Pakistan in the wake of Pulwama Terror Attack. In these circumstances, it will be important for the hosts to keep their fortitude on the game and leave the issue for the administrators to decide.
Skipper Virat Kohli will return to business after being rested for the T20 leg against New Zealand. He will look get the rush going and deliver what he is expected of.
Australia, on the other hand, will look to get a solution to solve the trickiest question of how to play the spin. Both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav dented the opposition on their first tour to Australia. Fortunately for Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee has rested the latter for the series. However, the young sensation Mayank Markande has been included in the T20 setup.
For India, it is expected that Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul will start off the innings with captain Virat Kohli coming at the number three slot. Kohli will be followed by MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. The lower middle order will consist of Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Mayank Markande.
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Mayank Markande.
For Australia, the likes of Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis will open the innings. Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, and Shaun Marsh will occupy third, fourth, and fifth spot. Glenn Maxwell will lead the lower middle-order followed by Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, and Kane Richardson.
Aaron Finch (c), Marcus Stoinis, Usman Khwaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter Nile, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, and Kane Richardson.
Who will win?
Seeing at India’s dominance over the last year and a half, and especially on their home soil, it is highly likely that India start as favourite to win the first encounter. In the Head to Head statistics, India leads T20 format convincingly having won 11 out of 18 games, and it’s almost certain to make the tally reach 12.
Pitch and Ground
Vizag has always been a high scoring ground and the team will have to score big or restrict the opposition to a low score. There should also be some due on the out filed, which eventually will make scoring easy.
Stadium and Time
Visakhapatnam Cricket Stadium at 7 p.m (IST)