The T20 series between India and Australia continues on Friday when the middle match of the three takes place in Nagpur on a day where the series could be won and lost or a deciding game could be set up.
India have to win this match to force the series into a decider while Australia will go in search of the win which will secure them the series with a match to spare. It also gives both teams the chance to continue their preparation for the T20 World Cup.
When you sort one problem out invariably another one rears its ugly head and that is exactly what happened to the Indian side in the opening match. They went into the series in a bit of a funk and having to answer one or two questions with the bat in hand. They ended the opening match having sorted out those batting woes but now there are question marks over their bowlers, although in truth I don’t think they did a huge amount wrong in that opening game.
They probably would have expected to defend more than 200 in the opening match but Australia used the conditions which were certainly in the favour of the batters. It probably wouldn’t have been a problem had they not bunged a couple of run defences in the Asia Cup and all of a sudden India are left wondering what they have should something happen to Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the opening match, during the World Cup.
We saw exactly why Australia are the world champions in this format in that opening match of the series. They plugged away with the ball and didn’t really let too many batters get away from them and then they came out with aggression when it was their turn to bat and although they had a couple of overs in the middle of their innings where they started wobbling, they recovered and in the end got the job done very convincingly indeed.
The good thing for Australia was that they delivered that performance without a warm up match and coming out of home conditions where their batting was a bit indifferent so they will have taken so much confidence from that opening match. There might even be a bit more to come from them as well when you consider that they might have needed the run in these conditions. Australia look in a good place based on that opening game.
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India are continuing to monitor the fitness of Jasprit Bumrah and if he is fit he is sure to come straight back into the side. Rishabh Pant might get the nod over Dinesh Karthik to offer a left-handed batting option.
Australia are expected to be unchanged for this match unless they want to rotate their bowling attack and keep it fresh. If that is the case then Sean Abbott could come in for Josh Hazlewood who has played a lot of cricket recently.
The boundaries flowed throughout the first game and while I don’t expect quite as high scoring a match in this second one it was pretty clear in that opening game that the intent for both sides is to get after the bowling and get the ball to the rope. Both teams batted deep in that first game and that isn’t going to change in this one so I don’t see a reason why we’re not going to get a high scoring game on a ground which doesn’t host international cricket that often so now they get the chance they will surely ensure the pitch is a good one.
Australia might still have more boundaries in them in this match when you consider that Glenn Maxwell only batted for three balls. Virat Kohli might have his best days behind him but he didn’t hit a boundary in that first game either and he is usually good for a few. Even without any contribution from those two men there were 63 boundaries. I don’t think we’ll get that many here but one an over to clear a 39.5 line is more than within range for two aggressive teams.
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