Before the start of the series, Australia was facing an uphill task. They had lost four consecutive Twenty20 Internationals and they were facing Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team, who had won seven consecutive Twenty20 International series since February 2017. However, the entire script changed with India’s bowling and catching found wanting in Brisbane. Chasing a revised target due to rain in 17 overs, Shikhar Dhawan (76) and Dinesh Karthik (30) played attacking knocks but it was not enough as Australia secured a four-run win to put themselves on the cusp of an unlikely series win heading into the second Twenty20 International in Melbourne.
The loss in Brisbane would not worry Kohli much, considering the short turn-around time for games in such series. However, the Indian team would be looking to address some issues with the fielding and bowling. Kohli himself dropped Aaron Finch while Khaleel Ahmed dropped Marcus Stoinis. In addition, there were some fielding mishaps as well which proved to be crucial. However, India has an issue with the bowling, with Krunal Pandya giving away 55 runs in four overs.
It was the let-up in the intensity during the middle overs, where India leaked 36 runs in two overs which cost the side. Getting Yuzvendra Chahal in place of Pandya might be a good option but it weakens the batting. Chahal’s wicket-taking prowess in Twenty20s is magnificent and it will be interesting to see how Kohli rejigs his bowling composition.
With the batting, the No.3 position is a conundrum. KL Rahul struggled in Brisbane, continuing the right-hander’s lean run in this format. Since his 101* in Manchester against England, Rahul’s highest score in six innings has been 26*. With Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer waiting in the wings, the pressure is immense on Rahul.
Zampa the trump card for Australia
Australia headed into the game in Brisbane with turmoil on and off the field. In the end, they emerged victorious thanks to aggressive batting, better fielding and a much-better bowling display, notably from Adam Zampa 4-0-22-2. Zampa’s spell was the key in the middle overs and his wicket of Virat Kohli would be satisfying, considering he got the Indian skipper cheaply in a chase.
Marcus Stoinis’ all-round show, combined with Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell’s aggression give the batting a solid look. The pacers, notably Andrew Tye and Jason Behrendorff struggled and they will be aiming for a better performance.
The hosts might not make any changes. However, one potential change could be Nathan Coulter-Nile in place of Tye, who leaked plenty of runs which got India back in the contest.