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IND v AUS, 1st T20I Preview: Stage set for the shortest format as India and Australia lock horns in Ranchi

Whilst heavy rains are expected to disrupt the proceedings on Saturday, the cricketing fraternity is hopeful that there will be some action at MS Dhoni's hometown. 

Team India News
Team India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The One-Dayers proved to be a disappointment for the Aussies as India ruthlessly annihilated them in every department, clinching the series 4-1. Whilst heavy rains are expected to disrupt the proceedings on Saturday, the cricketing fraternity is hopeful that there will be some action at MS Dhoni’s hometown.

With the Ashes coming up if there’s anything Australia need at this point in time is momentum. That remains too far-fetched for Steve Smith and company as their counterparts look rampant. The only time during this entire tour India failed to dominate was during the final few overs in the 4th ODI at Bengaluru and that cost them the game. Barring that, they remained strong and every ground they play at turns an impregnable fortress.

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David Warner and Aaron Finch reuniting at the top of the order brought in some joy for them, which evaporated soon with the middle order’s failure. Surprisingly, the likes of Smith and Maxwell, who fancy scoring against India, have failed to do anything special. But with the format changing, it’s a different ball game altogether and a tight clash is what awaits on Saturday.

Toss: Team India won the toss and elected to field

Captains quotes:

Virat Kohli: “We are gonna bowl first. There’s a bit of weather around, so we would like to know where we are placed. I don’t think the pitch will be much better in the second innings but the weather is a massive factor. T20 is a format where you can’t take any team for granted, let alone Australia. The beginning is important, and one window here and there and Australia might pounce. From the last game, Axar is out and Kuldeep is in. Shikhar Dhawan replaces Ajinkya Rahane.”

David Warner: “Looking forward to this. Looks like a great wicket. I’m honoured to be the captain. I think the pitch is exactly like how it looked in the Test match. The ball will come on slowly towards the end.”

Playing XI:

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

Australia: David Warner(c), Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Daniel Christian, Tim Paine(w), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff

Debutant: Jason Behrendorff makes his debut

Focus will be on

Virat Kohli (India)

90*, 59*, 50 and 82* – These are Kohli’s four previous scores against Australia in the shortest format. The flamboyant Indian skipper will try to add more runs to this impressive tally and help his side get closer the top position in T20I Rankings. The last time these two sides met in a T20 game, he was the man who played one of the greatest knocks in T20 history togude his side into the knockout stages of ICC World T20 2016 and it’d be fabulous if he can replicate anything like that.

Glenn Maxwell (Australia)

Writing off Glenn Maxwell ain’t a great thing to do as he is player who can change a game without putting in much effort. He’s been short of runs in the last few months, but Maxwell is the heart and soul of this middle order. T20 cricket is his forte and against India, his record has been terrific over the years. If he can get going, Australia can mount a big total and that’s the only way they can withstand this Indian side.

Playing combinations

India

With Shikhar Dhawan returning to the Indian side, it’s quite evident that he’ll open alongside his partner in crime Rohit Sharma with Virat Kohli coming in at 3. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll bat at number 4 as Pandya, Manish Pandey, Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav seem a good option. One thing’s certain, this lineup will give a horrid time to the bowlers.

The veteran Ashish Nehra will stage a spectacular comeback and he’ll share the new ball duties alongside the highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year, Jasprit Bumrah. Hardik Pandya is another fast bowling option for the skipper and his spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will give him a lot wickets in the middle.

Australia

Aaron Finch and David Warner will be embarking the innings and the duo has a huge responsibility on their shoulders. Glenn Maxwell will bat at number three hopefully, which means Steve Smith, Travis Head, Moises Henriques and Tim Paine will be forming the middle order.

Kane Richardon, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Beherendroff will comprise the fast bowling contingent for the day, with Andrew Tye being another choice on the bench. Beherendroff might get the chance ahead of Tye and Henriques will be the other fast bowling option. Adam Zampa will be the lone spinner in the side with Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head being the part-time options.

StatAttack

6 – India managed to win the previous six T20I games against Australia.

60 – Kohli needs 60 more runs to overtake Tilaratne Dilshan to grab the second spot in the list of top run-getters in T20Is.

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