The second T20I at Guwahati was far from a pleasant affair for the hosts. A sensational bowling spell from the left arm Jason Behrendorff punctured India’s top order completely. The elusive top three were made to look extraordinarily ordinary as the Western Australian bowled a riveting spell indeed.
But it was what happened after the game which set a dangerous precedent. The Australian team bus was attacked with a rock while carrying the team back to the hotel and such a distasteful incident has undoubtedly put the sport in a dark light. Of course, India lost without much of a fight, but there wasn’t the need for fans to react so violently.
The focus now shifts to a city that has witnessed colossal rainfall in the last week or so. The most recent First Class game here in Hyderabad was cancelled even without a ball being bowled. The prospects of the third T20I taking place seem grim, but if it does, its integral for the men in blue to have their best XI on the field. Below, we have a look at the predicted Indian XI for the final T20I.
With two successive low scores to his name now, Sharma will be keen to make it big in Hyderabad. Sharma’s recent career trend has witnessed a few failures being followed by a huge innings. Hyderabad could well be that occasion.
- Shikhar Dhawan:
One has to feel for Dhawan who was just playing his second game after a while as the slow nature of the pitch deceived him. The southpaw was out caught spectacularly by David Warner, who took an excellent catch running backwards. Dhawan needs a big score to cement his place in the T20I side as questions loom over his future in the format.
- Virat Kohli (c):
Kohli’s willow this year against Australia has been silent in all forms of the game. He has the perfect opportunity now to score a really big one in what is Australia’s last game against the men in blue this year. Being the ever larger than life champion he is, Kohli could well be the deciding factor in the decider.
- Dinesh Karthik:
Manish Pandey has made a meal of several opportunities now, and with an experienced player like Dinesh Karthik warming the benches, it only makes sense to give the latter a go in the all-important match. Karthik has been in form in domestic cricket and deserves a long run in the side.
- MS Dhoni (wk):
Dhoni to be honest looked miserable in the second T20I as his painful stay was ended by Adam Zampa. But the management is equally responsible for that as the veteran deserves to bat higher up the order and spend as much time as possible in the middle.
- Kedar Jadhav:
Once again like the ODI series, Jadhav did all the hard work as he got himself off to a decent start but then threw it away with an absolutely nothing shot. The Maharashtra batsman must realize by now that he is running short of time and innings and needs to make every chance count.
- Hardik Pandya:
Probably among the only positives for the men in blue, Pandya did well to get India to 118 in the first place. He didn’t play any rash shot and rather than looking to slog his way through, the all rounder was more than happy to last the distance. Another fine outing is expected from this rising star of the team.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar:
Kumar is currently enjoying the form of his life as he is picking up wickets frequently and timely. That was evident with his performance at Guwahati took as he got rid of Aaron Finch. If India are to win the series, a lot will depend upon how Kumar bowls at his IPL home ground.
- Kuldeep Yadav:
Kuldeep had a rare off day in the previous game as he was taken for plenty by Moises Henriques and Travis Head. Being the genuine wicket taker he is though, Kuldeep should make a strong comeback at Hyderabad and prove his aura as a match winner.
- Jasprit Bumrah:
Bumrah was right on the money in the game gone by as he sent back David Warner with a well disguised change of pace. Like Kumar, Bumrah too holds the aces for India’s chances to win the series at Hyderabad, as he is a match winner on his own.
- Yuzvendra Chahal:
The leg spinner didn’t get any wicket at Guwahati as the Australian batsmen were happy to see him through rather than take any chances against him. One can expect Chahal to be Kohli’s main weapon from the wicket taking front during the critical junctures.