Team India would be aiming to wrap up another series win when they take on a faltering Australia in the second Twenty20 International. The India-Australia limited-overs series so far has been a one-sided a contest as the hosts effortlessly grabbed the ODI rubber 4-1.
Extending the domination in the three-match T20I series, India routed Australia by nine wickets in the rain-hit opening match two days back in Ranchi to take a 1-0 lead.
Their T20I rivalry is lopsided as India have won 10 and lost four out of the 14 matches played. The hosts have won seven matches in a row, and they have not lost to Australia in T20Is since September 28, 2012.
The visitors will have to play out of their skins to arrest the slide and level the series ahead of the last T20I in Hyderabad on October 13.
For that to happen, Australia will have to unravel the mystery of India’s latest wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who have shared 16 wickets between them in four ODIs and one T20I.
The duo has been the big difference between the two sides as Australia have failed to read their variations and looked inept in exploiting the conditions.
It’s surprising given that most of the Australian batsmen are familiar with the conditions here having played in the Indian Premier League.
On the other hand, the Indian team members are complementing each other well, be it in batting or bowling. It was evident in Ranchi when Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah’s giving of easy runs was easily arrested by Yadav and Chahal.
The Australian batting has mostly revolved around the top three of Warner, Finch and Steve Smith, and with the skipper ruled out of the series with a shoulder injury, it would be a challenge to counter the Indian spin challenge and bounce back in the series.
Australia would hope that the big-hitting Glenn Maxwell returns to form after a pathetic run of 39, 14, 5 in the ODIs and 17 in the opening T20I.
That all his dismissals have come against Chahal underlines the all-rounder’s inability to tackle leg-spin and he would be desperate to come out of his disastrous run. Thankfully his team is backing him fully.
“We’ve seen him be so dominant, so destructive of attacks in these conditions before. I don’t think he’s far away at all. He’s hitting the ball in the nets, he’s up and about in the field,” Finch said in full support of Maxwell.
It would also be interesting to see how Finch tackles Yadav this time. In Ranchi, he chose to play more sweep shots before being cleaned up by Yadav with a fuller delivery.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, who with 10 wickets was the highest wicket-taker in the ODI series, has been the silver-lining for Australia while left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff also showed some promise in his debut in Ranchi.
Australia would hope that the pace duo rock the Indian batting line-up, which had little match practice in a six-over contest in Ranchi.
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan returned to the team in Ranchi after opting out of the ODI series and it was pleasing to see him pick up the length early and play the pull shot. His easy comeback also means that the in-form Ajinkya Rahane’s absence would not be missed.
Dhawan and skipper Virat Kohli steered the small chase in the first T20I and Australia would look to rock the top-order, including Rohit Sharma, who was the top run-getter in the ODI series.
There may be some surprise element from the pitch which will be hosting its first international match. The ACA-Barsapara Stadium made headlines in the last Ranji season when Hyderabad bowled out Himachal Pradesh for 36, the fourth-lowest total in the Ranji Trophy since 2000.
Interestingly, the ACA-Barsapara Stadium will be making its international debut with the match on Tuesday, adding to the growing list of cricket venues in the country.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul and Axar Patel.
Australia: David Warner (c), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.