The T20 World Cup is less than a month away and India and Australia continue their preparations for the tournament when the two sides meet in the first T20 international of three on Tuesday. The opening game comes from Mohali.
Both sides will be heading down under next month looking to win the T20 World Cup. Australia are the defending champions and will be eager to put up a strong defence of the title on home soil. India will be looking for a first world crown since 2007.
India have played a lot of cricket in recent times. We last saw them at the Asia Cup where they delivered a tournament which wasn’t what they were looking for. Things started well for them in the UAE but the longer the campaign went on the worse it got and in the end they never even made the final. That might not have been a disaster though. All the good teams can do with coming back to earth every now and again and that might have done it for India.
One thing that tournament did do though was scramble the minds of India with regards to their best batting order. We might have been coming to the time where Virat Kohli didn’t get in the side but his century in the final match means they are going to have to work out where to utilise him and still be competitive. The positive from the competition was that whichever bowling combination India use they are still getting the job done more often than not.
We’ve seen Australia out recently as well but surprisingly their most recent action has come in the 50 over sphere which isn’t really much use to man or beast. A lot of their squad have been playing in either The Hundred or the Caribbean Premier League over the last six weeks or so though so it isn’t as though they go into this series devoid of T20 cricket. They do go into it without any sort of warm up fixture though so although most of the squad are IPL regulars they will still need to acclimatise to the very different Indian conditions to the ones they took on Zimbabwe and New Zealand in.
You would imagine that Australia will have the bowling resources to be competitive in this series and certainly when they get to the World Cup next month but their success here and there will be down to their batters. In those ODIs earlier in the month their top order offered nothing but the players they have over for this competition look to be in better form for the franchise cricket they have played. You get the feeling there are squad places up for grabs in these matches so there is a lot at stake.
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India have Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel back after both were forced to miss the Asia Cup recently. There is still no Ravi Jadeja because of injury though so Axar Patel is expected to get the spinning all-rounder role.
Australia are finally expected to give a debut to Tim David after calling him into the squad for the first time. Mitchell Starc isn’t here so Pat Cummins will come in for him. Josh Inglis and Cameron Green are likely to be involved.
This is generally a high scoring ground with three of the five first innings in T20 internationals containing scores over 180 and I don’t really see too many reasons why that trend is going to change here. Australia have a good bowling attack at their disposal but it is nothing that India haven’t seen before as all of them have played in the Indian Premier League and the majority of the visiting batters have played in that competition as well so they will have faced the Indian attack.
The outfield at Mohali is one of the bigger ones in India but it is always lightning fast and there is said to be some grass on the pitch which means there should be some pace and bounce so the ball will come onto the bat. These two teams both bat very deep and have been active enough that their batters shouldn’t need the game to come on for the run so I expect the boundaries to flow here. The boundary line is 39.5 for this one and I think that gets covered in a high scoring series opener.
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