India found expected heroes in Hardik Pandya and Thangarasu Natarajan in Sydney last Sunday as they sealed the three-match T20I series with two consecutive wins.
However, despite India managing a six-wicket win over the hosts, the competition was far from being one-sided as Australia’s top-heavy batting order had tallied a massive 194 while batting first.
With a whitewash, and consequently their self-respect, at stake in front of the home crowd for Australia, the motivation will be more than ever for the Kangaroos to give their best. India, on the other hand, will hardly be complacent with some envious records at stake as they stare at a record consecutive whitewashes in T20Is.
Tuesday’s clash will undoubtedly be a top-notch one with both the sides needing unlikely heroes to rise to the occasion. We can help you in naming some of those probables who could steal the show in the fantasy league.
Hardik Pandya was fortunate that a large duration of his recovery was taken up by the global virus inaction in the cricket calendar, as the all-rounder didn’t let his contemporaries get ahead of him. He has come back in some form and BCCI’s decision to not let him bowl is a gamble well taken. While the all-rounder’s pyrotechnics makes him the top MVP candidate in any fantasy team, as his current form makes him unputdownable. After scoring 210 runs in the three-match ODI series, Pandya has tallied 58 runs in the ongoing T20I series at a strike rate of 190.
While India’s selection committee came under fire for excluding Suryakumar Yadav from the T20I squad after the player’s stupendous Indian T20 League campaign, Sanju Samson’s inclusion will likely bring in praise. Yet another T20 talent who has languished in the domestic circuit for long, Samson is the perfect middle-order batsman India need in T20s. Though the hard-hitter is yet to forge a big score, his temperament to take on bowlers is exactly what India miss at times. Samson has scored 38 runs in two matches and 20 runs off them have come in boundaries. With the pressure largely off in the last T20I, he could express himself better.
Mitchell Swepson’s rise in the ongoing T20I series isn’t surprising given how 2020 has panned out for the Australia cricket team. This is the first time that Australian spinners have been better than their famed pacers, taking 51.92 per cent of the wickets. The Aussie spinners also enjoy an economy rate of 7.00 and a strike rate of 17.40. Hence, Swepson’s economy rate of 6.25 in the last T20I against India, where he also scalped Sanju Samson’s wicket, was pretty much expected. Adam Zampa’s impressive spells further support Swepson’s case and fantasy team owners could rely on this trend for Tuesday.
Opportunities can come in the unlikeliest of times and Matthew Wade is a prime example of that. The wicketkeeper opener hardly holds T20I numbers that could make him a threat to a high-flying Indian side for the third T20I, but as it stands, the southpaw is Australia’s biggest weapon against the Men In Blue on Tuesday. Wade’s 32-balls-58 made him the fourth Australian player to score a fifty on his T20I captaincy debut as the opener didn’t spare a single Indian bowler in the process. His approach isn’t likely to change on Tuesday and he could be a vibrant selection for the same reason.
Thangarasu Natarajan is in this Indian side only because the selectors’ first choice Varun Chakravarthy had to step down in the last moment with an injury. However, the Tamil Nadu-born pacer couldn’t have taken his chance any better and his scintillating performance in the last T20I showed that he is much more than a yorker specialist. T Natarajan conceded just 20 runs in his four overs, in which he scalped the wickets of D’Arcy Short and Moises Henriques as well, and he bowled just one yorker in the process. His intelligent variation is a weapon gradually coming to the fore and fantasy team owners cannot miss picking him in any circumstances.
Feature Image courtesy: Instagram/ BCCI