The recently concluded ODI series between India and Australia gave us a fair idea of the pitches Down Under and what to expect in the upcoming encounters. While the turf at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) saw both the teams crossing the 300-run mark in the two ODIs, the good track at the Manuka Oval served a perfect thriller.
So, when these two sides cross swords in first of the three T20I games on December 4 at the Manuka Oval yet again, I expect the following players to play a key role in it:
KL Rahul had a subpar tenure in the ODI series - scoring a solitary half-century - but his stocks in the shortest format are what makes him a dangerous entity. The Punjab captain is coming on the back of an explosive Indian T20 League campaign, and I, for one, believe that he would pose a greater threat than any other Indian batsman. Considered as a T20 specialist, his ability to bat across several positions might prove handy for his team.
There’s no doubt that Adam Zampa has been expensive in his recent T20 outings, but the fact remains that he is a sheer wicket-taking threat to the Indian Cricket team. Hence, Australia will look up to him for breaking deadlocks even if the spinner leak runs in the process. Zampa was impressive in Australia’s last match at Manuka Oval - third ODI against India - where he maintained a 4.5 economy rate in his 10 overs, scalping Shreyas Iyer’s wicket.
Two wickets on his ODI debut is bound to lift Thangarasu Natarajan’s confidence heading into the first T20I. The 29-year-old displayed an array of variations in the Indian T20 League, with his ability to pitch scorching yorkers on demand earning him a national call-up. With the conditions at Manuka Oval providing assistance to swing bowling, I believe Natarajan can rightly be India’s X-factor in the game.
While Glenn Maxwell was one of the best Australian players in the recently concluded ODI series, the T20 format will pose a whole new challenge for the all-rounder. His evident struggle in the Indian T20 League with Punjab welcomed rightful criticism and the all-rounder will certainly have a point to prove. Despite all those talking though, I believe home conditions will play its part and the 32-year-old will manage to put on a decent show.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray