After Australia clinched the ODI series 2-1, the Indian cricket team bounced back strongly to seal the T20I series Down Under. As we inch closer to the last game of the white-ball series, I must admit that this has been a sheer delight to watch.
So, when these two sides cross swords in the third and final T20I of the three-match series on December 8 at the Sydney Cricket Ground yet again, I expect the following players to play a key role in it:
Indian medium pacer Deepak Chahar, who holds the record for the best bowling figures in T20I history, will look to put in a good display in the final game of the white-ball series. Even though Chahar was expensive in the last T20I encounter, he is a wicket-taker with the new ball and would want to end the series on a high. The 28-year-old had a decent outing in the first match of the T20 series where he gave the Indians a match-winning breakthrough by removing the dangerous Moises Henriques.
Australia’s stand-in skipper Matthew Wade will be very disappointed that his blistering half-century in the second T20I ended up in a losing cause. Leading the Aussies in the absence of injured Aaron Finch, Wade’s blitzkrieg innings of 58 runs off just 32 balls had helped the hosts post a mammoth total of 194/5 in their 20 overs. The 32-year-old will hope that he can contribute with the bat at the top of the order and help the side end the limited-overs series with a victory.
Shreyas Iyer just showed why he is such a valuable asset to the Indian white-ball set-up in the last T20 encounter against Australia. Iyer’s monstrous 111-metre six off Adam Zampa was one of the highlights of the second T20I. His 46-run stand with India all-rounder Hardik Pandya steered the visitors to a series-clinching victory on Sunday. Since the pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground has been a batting paradise, I expect Shreyas to come good again in the final match of the T20 series.
The Australian all-rounder looked in great touch in the second T20I after making his comeback from an injury. Marcus Stoinis was also one of the standout performers in the recently-concluded Indian T20 league. The 31-year-old has already played 23 T20Is in his short international career, amassing 236 runs and claiming nine wickets for the Aussies. With the conditions at the SCG assisting the batters, I believe Stoinis can rightly be Australia’s X-factor in the third T20I. Of course, avoiding India’s clean sweep will be an added motivation as well.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray