After suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat in the three-match ODI series, the Indian cricket team will look to turn the tables on Friday, when they clash against Australia in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Virat Kohli’s men will look to continue their winning momentum after the visitors rode on a 150-run partnership between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja to pull off a 13-run consolation win in the third ODI to avoid conceding a clean sweep by Australia at this very ground.
The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup next year will be an added incentive for players of both the teams to give their all. Before the much-anticipated Australia vs India T20 series begins on December 4, here’s the top five fantasy picks for the first T20I:
The BCCI had rewarded KL Rahul for his incredible form in the Indian T20 League by appointing him as Virat Kohli’s deputy in white-ball cricket for the Australia tour, as he replaced injured Rohit Sharma. The 28-year-old has been in sensational form since the World Cup last year. With 443 runs to his name in nine ODIs, the Karnataka batsman has ended 2020 as the highest run-scorer for India. The Punjab skipper also won the Orange Cap in the recently concluded Indian T20 League season, after he amassed a whopping 670 runs in 14 games at an average of 55.83 with five fifties and one century. Rahul will look to continue his glorious form in the upcoming T20Is against Australia and further cement his position as India's first-choice wicket-keeper in the shortest format of the game.
Australia’s flamboyant Glenn Maxwell has once again shown why every limited-overs team in the world would want to have him. Maxwell was at his destructive best in the recently concluded ODI series against India, tallying 167 runs at a strike rate of 194, with a couple of fifties to his name as well. His recent form has once again proved why he has been a sheer match-winner for the Kangaroos in limited overs. Interestingly, Maxwell had a shambolic IPL 2020 for Punjab, accumulating only 108 runs in 13 matches. The Aussies will hope that Maxwell can continue his thunderous form and help them claim the upcoming T20I series against India.
Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya produced two most scintillating ODI knocks of his career in the recently concluded series, showing why he is regarded as one of the biggest match-winners in white-ball cricket. This mature version of Pandya also silenced those who had questioned his place in the limited-overs set-up. The 27-year-old amassed 210 runs at an average of 105 against Australia in the series Down Under. Ahead of the T20I series against the Aussies, the Indian cricket team further received a massive boost as Pandya bowled in top-flight cricket for the first time since returning from a back surgery more than a year ago. Moreover, Pandya was also one of Mumbai’s prime players on their way to the title. With a staggering strike rate of 178.98, Pandya had tallied 281 runs at a decent average of 35.
Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the wrecker-in-chief for the Kangaroos’ bowling unit in their ODIs series win against India. The South Australia-based cricketer picked seven wickets in three matches at an average of 23. The 28-year-old also has a dominant grip over India captain Virat Kohli across all formats in white-ball cricket. Zampa has bamboozled Kohli a total of seven times in limited-overs and the leg-spinner has been a huge match-winner for Australia in the shortest format of the game. Zampa has claimed 36 T20I wickets in 33 matches at an average of 20.86.
India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah had finally managed to rediscover his bowling rhythm during the third ODI against Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. The 28-year-old removed Glenn Maxwell with a deadly yorker to set up a thrilling win for India in the final ODI of the three-match series. ‘Boom Boom’ Bumrah was one of the standout bowlers of the recently concluded Indian T20 League with the Mumbai pacer claiming 27 wickets in just 15 matches at an average of 14.96.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray