After winning the moral-lifting ODI match in Canberra, India is set to play the first T20I of the three-match series against Australia on Friday (December 4). As India has lost the ODI series with 2-1, they will want to win the T20I series to level the tour before proceeding to play the Test series.
However, the problem of the dearth of bowling options remains the same for India. Hardik Pandya had bowled four overs in the second ODI, but in the last ODI, he was used only as a pure batsman. It will be interesting to see with what combination Virat Kohli enters in Canberra.
Here, let’s take a look at India’s Predicted Playing XI
After scoring a half-century in the first ODI, Shikhar Dhawan has lost his wicket early in the last two ODIs. But the southpaw is in good form. He will look to replicate his impressive IPL performance in the T20I series to give a fiery start to the team.
Mayank Agarwal was rested in the last ODI match after featuring in the first two ODIs where he could not even touch 50 runs marks. However, the right-hand batsman managed to give a quick start by striking some good shots.
He also had a good IPL season, being one of the leading scorers of Kings XI Punjab. Team India will expect him to set a good base for them and build up a good partnership with Shikhar Dhawa.
Virat Kohli (c):
Virat Kohli has ended 2020 without an ODI century in his name which is the first time since 2008. However, he scored two back to back ODI half-century in the last two matches. Although Team India captain could not add an ODI hundred in his name, he has the opportunity to score a maiden T20I century.
Shreyas Iyer will be playing the first T20I match in Australian condition, but the middle-order batsman has taken every challenge. In the ODI series, the youngster played some good eye-soothing shots to show his prowess. He is dominant against spinners and will help to answer Adam Zampa’s attack very well.
KL Rahul was in great touch with the bat in the ODI series. He had mustered half-century in the penultimate match although it could not end up in winning cause.
The flamboyant batsman will have to play more fiery knocks in the T20I to beat Australia and start the series on a good note.
Although Hardik Pandya is not bowling, he has made it up through his batting. His power-hitting in the middle-order has allowed India to not over-rely on the top-order. In all the three ODIs, the attacking batsman has accelerated the innings and has played sensible knock to keep the fight alive. Although his half-centuries went into vain in the first two ODIs, India made sure that the same was not repeated in the last ODI.
India will hope that he to continue the same performance in the T20Is.
Ravindra Jadeja is being used as a genuine fifth bowler. He has ended the ODI series on a high note with bowling economical overs while his hard-hitting has helped India to halt the clean sweep. The allrounder will expect to continue the same rhythm in T20Is.
Mohammed Shami was rested in the last ODI while T Natrajan played in place of him. The speedster has picked up four wickets in the ODI series but was unable to pick wickets in powerplays which costed the team. He will be expected to give a breakthrough in T20Is; otherwise, Australia might again take the series home.
Jasprit Bumrah notched the crucial wicket of Glenn Maxwell to help India to win the last ODI. During the ODI series, he was in the form, but he has lost the knack of picking wickets, for which he is known. He could not pick wickets in the first 10 overs which costed India.
The world-class bowler will have to bounce back stronger in the T20I series.
Deepak Chahar had a good season for Chennai Super Kings, though the franchise could not qualify for playoffs. He was the wicket-taker with the new ball.
The pacer was out from the T20 set up after he picked up an injury last year. This series will mark his comeback.
On the other hand, India also has good bench option T Natrajan, who made ODI debut in Canberra while also picked the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne. He also had an amazing IPL season.
The leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal went expensive in the ODIs and was replaced by Kuldeep Yadav for the last ODI. However, he is likely to play the T20I series considering his masterpiece in IPL 2020. He had a staggering T20 league as he ended up the highest wicket-taker for Royal Challengers Bangalore.