After a thrashing in Mumbai, India were back to their best in Rajkot as they got the better of Australia by 36 runs to square the series 1-1. The caravan will now move to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bengaluru for the final showdown.
The two nations have met each other 139 times in the 50-over format of the game. Australia have the edge here having won 78 of the encounters to India’s 51. 10 matches were abandoned.
Australia have a 3-2 lead in the last five ODIs while the last five ODIs in India too sees them in a 4-1 lead.
Ground details and team combination:
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium has not been a regular feature for One-Day Internationals. There have been just two ODIs played at this venue since January 2013, both incidentally between these two very sides and both very high scoring games.
Home to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, the M Chinnaswamy surface is known to be a batting paradise and one can expect the same come Sunday.
So, it goes without saying that batsmen should feature heavily in your eleven.
If we look at more recent numbers too the bat has done the talking. In nine List-A matches here since the start of 2019, the average first innings score has been 256.
While both pace and spin have suffered, the former have been slightly more effective than their spin bowling counterparts. In nine List-A matches since January 2019, they have picked up a wicket every 33.4 deliveries as compared to spinners who have returned a wicket every 53.2 balls.
If we look at the different bowling types, right-arm pacers have been the most effective at this venue. In nine List-A games since January 2019, they have picked up a wicket every 31.6 balls followed closely by leg-spinners who have a strike-rate of 38.8.
You could include someone like a Pat Cummins or Navdeep Saini in your side. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who has been consistent in both games so far this series might also be taken into consideration. Having said that batsmen are likely to give you the points in this game so pack them in abundance.
A combination of six frontline batsmen including the wicket-keeper, two all-rounders one leg-spinner and two fast bowlers could be the way to go for this game.
KL Rahul hasn’t always been a regular in the 50-over setup but his recent numbers coupled with his wicket-keeping abilities can well augur for him and India. Pushed lower down the order in Rajkot, Rahul showed his versatility as he thumped a 52-ball 80 to give India a winning total. In the absence of Rishabh Pant, he was excellent behind the stumps too. Being a local boy, Rahul knows the ins and outs of the Bengaluru surface. He has not played an ODI here but his domestic numbers here are excellent. In eight List-A games since the start of 2019, Rahul has struck five half-centuries and one century here averaging 92! He is one player who if he gets stuck in can get you crucial points.
Virat Kohli looked a man on a mission in Rajkot and with the series on the line he will look to take it up a notch. Virat Kohli has often termed Bengaluru as his second home having been a part of RCB for 12 years. He knows the surface here better than most others and will be keen on leaving a mark. The No.1 ODI batsman in the world, Kohli has scored 1471 runs in 27 innings since the start of 2019 averaging a strong 58.84. He will have the whole Bengaluru crowd egging him on and will not want to disappoint them.
David Warner has been exemplary in the 50-over format since his return from the ban. In 12 innings since January 2019, Warner has smashed 790 runs averaging 79 with three fifties and four tons. He missed out in Rajkot and will want to make up in what is considered to be one of the best batting track in India. The last time Warner played an ODI in Bengaluru, he ended up scoring 124. He has played a lot of T20 cricket here being part of the IPL and his experience will come into play.
Steve Smith has always brought out his best against India like he did in Rajkot and he looks like he isn’t done yet. He would have been gutted having missed out on a century but he has a chance to make amends which he will desperately want to in Bengaluru. Smith’s record against India is superb. In 14 innings against them, he has smoked 776 runs averaging 55.43 which includes five half-centuries and two centuries. Smith will be eager to finish the series on a high.
It is expected to be nice and pleasant in Bengaluru on match day with the temperature to be in the mid 20s range. Rain is likely to stay away on match day.
David Warner, KL Rahul (c/wk), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (vc), Steve Smith, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, Navdeep Saini, Adam Zampa