Our prediction is that India will win the first T20 international against Australia!
Australia are on a tour to India to play a couple of T20 internationals followed by an ODI series of 5 games. The tour starts from 24th February 2018 at Vizag and ends on 13th March with 5th ODI at Delhi with the fifth and the last ODI.
These two teams have played a mammoth series of 3 T20Is, 4 Tests followed by 3 ODIs recently when India toured Australia in December 2018. This was India’s best ever tour of Australia where they won the Test and ODI series and drew the T20I series 1-1 with one match getting washed off because of the rains.
Australia gathered some confidence back after the horrid India tour by defeating injury-laden Sri Lanka at home. India, on the other hand, continued their merry way to New Zealand and won the ODI series 4-1. However, they could not win the T20I series there which India lost 1-2. India's only series loss in any format in about two and a half month.
Both the teams have brought back their prime performers for this series. It is going to interesting to see how they stack up against each other in this series.
India have been on a successful ride in the T20 cricket in the last 2 years and have the winning percentage second only to Pakistan in the said period with about 70% win rate across the globe. The recent series loss against New Zealand is the first in the last two years where more than one T20Is was played. In that time India won 7 and drew 2 T20I series.
India is bringing all the major players back to the squad with Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah making a comeback after the rest whereas KL Rahul will make a comeback after suspension during limited-overs leg of Australia tour. Some impressive performances have made the selectors persist with Rishabh Pant.
Kuldeep Yadav has been rested for T20I opening the gates for Mayank Markande in the side. Umesh Yadav and Siddharth Kaul have been included in the squad as well. Hardik Pandya must have hoped for making up for the time he lost missing out on the limited-overs leg of the Australia tour, however, the lower back stiffness has ruled him out of this Australia series.
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Mayank Markande, Jarprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal .
Virat Kohli, YS Chahal, Krunal Pandya, Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Markande, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, JJ Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Umesh Yadav
Australia had a horrid home summer against India where they drew the T20I series thanks to a washout in 2nd T20I, lost the Test series 2-1 at home against India for the first time to go along with 1-2 ODI series loss. Also the first at home in a bilateral series against India. In the last leg of the summer, the Aussies could save some face against Sri Lanka winning both the Tests comprehensively. That ought to help their confidence for they will be under a sterner examination against India in India. Add to it the fact that India are bringing in their first choice players back makes it even harder proposition for the Aussies.
The absence of Mitchell Starc and Hazelwood due to injuries is a big blow to Australia ahead of the series. Highest wicket-taker in BBL, Kane Richardson, is included in the squad who will lead the bowling attack with Pat Cummins. Shaun Marsh will not play the T20Is whereas his brother has been dropped altogether.
Aussies must be looking to get the feel of the conditions in T20Is before the all-important ODI series. The focus would be on getting the team combination right to kick off the series.
Aaron Finch (capt), Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa, D'Arcy Short.
AJ Turner, Aaron Finch, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, D'Arcy Short, Adam Zampa
Only one T20 International has been played at this venue before when India beat Sri Lanka by 9 wickets after reducing them to just 82 in first innings. The pitch offers a bit of help to spinners but remains true throughout.
Thus, the team winning the toss should opt to Field first at this venue, and then, should plan the chase accordingly in even conditions under lights.
This is an encounter between a team, India, which just had their best away tour against the team, Australia, who were on the receiving end. Given the fact that the match is going to happen on soil for India, the equation looks titled towards the home side. Although, twenty-twenty is a funny game and anything is possible on a given day, India, at the moment look ahead of the Aussies.
Our prediction is that India will begin the limited overs series with a win in the first T20 International against Australia at Vizag on 24th February.
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