Australia was decimated by India in the first T20I between the two teams, losing by 9 wickets in a rain-affected game. The visitors scored just 118-8 in 18.4 overs, spin stifling their batting once again.
Losing Steve Smith was always going to make life difficult for the Aussies. The captain returned home after suffering a shoulder injury in training, handing the captaincy to David Warner.
Rain ensured that India needed 48 in 6 overs to win the match, and the home side prevailed with three balls to spare, handing the Aussies yet another loss on the tour. Repeating the same mistakes from the ODIs, what can they can do to win the next game, if anything?
David Warner (c), Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Daniel Christian, Tim Paine (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Kane Richardson
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Lokesh Rahul, Axar Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Ashish Nehra
Where the teams stand
Aaron Finch, since his recovery, has greatly bolstered the Aussie batting. He scored 250 odd runs in three ODIs, bringing out the best in Warner as well. However, the rest of the batting has failed to live up to expectations, relying comfortably on their world-class top three to get them to a big score. He ended up scoring 42 out of 118, epitomizing how overly dependent his team has been on him, but he cannot score it all by himself. None of the Aussie batsmen looked comfortable at the crease, a constant criticism of their middle order throughout the tour.
Australia’s best chance of winning rests on them winning the toss and restricting the Indians to a low score, which is well within the capabilities of their attack. Their batting simply cannot be trusted to set a competitive score in the 180 region against this Indian attack unless Warner and Finch go berserk. Warner must include Richardson in the team, even if it has to be at the expense of either Henriques or Christian, though Head or Maxwell would be better choices to bench. The pacer had a good run in the ODIs, and can effectively further their cause of winning. When two batsman are consistently scoring more than half your overall score, you know you’re in trouble.
The home side comfortably beat the Aussies in a dominant display of cricket. As always, they were highly efficient in all departments. It is difficult to imagine this team losing, despite the earlier suspicion of their ability to carry their form over to the shortest format. The bowlers simply never disappoint, the spinners thriving against this opposition and the pacers superbly complimenting them through their own wicket taking prowess. Their batting has also been resourceful except for Pandey and Jadhav, who have not been at their best.
India have regularly outplayed the Australians by a wide margin in either batting, bowling, or both, seemingly invincible on home soil save the fourth ODI, which they lost. Despite a fragile middle order, they have managed to survive and dominate with the bat. They only need to keep doing what they have been doing the entire series, which is bowl first, and chase down whatever the Aussies can throw at them.
Can Australia finally taste some joy on their tour, or will India crush them again? Let us know in the comments below.
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