After demolishing Sri Lanka by a record 134-run margin in Adelaide, Australia will look to seal the three-match series when they take on the Islanders in the second Twenty20 International at the Gabba on Wednesday (October 30). Australia stamped their authority from the very first over and not once gave Sri Lanka a chance to make a comeback in that encounter.
The likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell smashed Sri Lankan bowlers all around the park and helped Australia amass 233 for 2 in their 20 overs. Sri Lanka could never get going in their chase as Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa kept picking wickets at regular intervals, restricting them to 99 for 9 in 20 overs.
Despite the heavy defeat, Sri Lanka still have a pretty decent record against Australia. They have won eight of the 14 encounters played between the two sides but Australia are in red-hot form and Lasith Malinga and Co. will have to come up with something spectacular if they want to get the better of the home side.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
The surface at the Gabba offers something to both the batsmen and bowlers. In nine T20s since the start of 2018, the average first innings score is 165 and the batsmen here have scored at an average of 26.1 runs per wicket and have lost a wicket every 18.3 balls. The average run-rate during the time frame is also quite decent - 8.5.
As we have mentioned, the surface at the Gabba has something for both batsmen and bowlers. So, it’s important to have a well-balanced line-up.
On the bowling front, pacers have picked up 68 wickets here since 2018 at an economy of 9.3. Australia have some very good pacers in their arsenal and getting at least two from them in your playing XI is a must. While pacers pick up wickets at every 17.1 balls, spinners are the ones who provide some control. They leak runs at an economy of 7.4 and concede a boundary every 9.4 balls compared to 5.2 from seamers.
The right arm pacers have been the most effective breed here since the start of 2018, having picked up 53 wickets at an average of 27.1. However, their economy is on the higher side of 9.4. Left-arm pacers and legspinners too have a decent record at this venue. While legspinners operate at an economy of 7.5 at this venue since the start of 2018, left-arm pacers have taken a wicket every 16.8 balls.
Australia will be without Mitchell Starc in the second T20I as he will be away to attend his brother’s wedding. One of Billy Stanlake or Sean Abbott will replace him. Having both Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson in your playing XI is a no-brainer, while someone like Lasith Malinga can also be a safe option despite having a bad outing in Adelaide. Wanindu Hasaranga was smacked all around the park in the last encounter but he along with in-form Adam Zampa can turn out to handy picks. If not Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan can also be tried. A combination of five frontline batsmen, one all-rounder, backed up with two leg-spinners and three pacers could be the way to go for your team.
Glenn Maxwell once again proved on Sunday that why he is Australia’s lynchpin in the shortest format of the game. The swashbuckling right-hander was promoted to No. 3 after David Warner and Aaron Finch got Australia off to a solid start. Maxwell then blasted 62 off just 28 deliveries, including seven fours and three maximums.
He is the country’s leading run-scorer since the start of 2018 with 737 runs in 22 outings at an average of 46.6 which includes four half-centuries and two centuries. What should further convince you to make the captain of our side is his record in T20Is against Sri Lanka. He has racked up 281 runs in five innings against the island nation with one century and two fifties striking at 224.80.
David Warner: The left-handed opener might have struggled badly in the Ashes but when it comes to white-ball cricket, Warner is a different beast altogether. The 33-year-old smashed his maiden T20I century (56-ball 100*) which was studded with 10 fours and four sixes. He hasn’t played a lot of T20Is in the last two years because of the ban but Warner has been in amazing form in the T20 leagues around the world. Since 2018, Warner has scored 1331 runs at an average of 47.54 and a strike rate of 137.9. In the same time frame, he has hit 13 fifties and two centuries.
Aaron Finch: Maxwell and Warner might have hogged all the limelight in Adelaide but Australian skipper Finch played an equally important role in his side’s convincing win. There were some injury concerns ahead of the first T20I but Finch brushed it off with a stroke-filling 36-ball 64, decorated with eight fours and three sixes. He has the best strike rate amongst all Australian batsman since the start of 2018, that of 174.8. If he once again gets stuck in, Sri Lanka might be in for another serious leather hunt.
Lasith Malinga: The veteran paceman conceded 37 runs in the last encounter but Malinga is not someone you keep out of your fantasy team, irrespective of his form and conditions. He did not play the T20Is in Pakistan but was at his lethal best against New Zealand at home returning four wickets in four balls in one of the games. He is Sri Lanka’s joint leading wicket-taker this year with 12 wickets in eight outings at an economy of just 6.4 and can help you score important points. Malinga might have had a bad outing in Adelaide but one wouldn’t dare to write him off as he can turn the game around in the matter of few balls.
The weather is largely dry in the lead up to the second T20I in Brisbane. Though it’s expected to be slightly cloudy, rain should not really be a problem.
Suggested FanFight Team
Aaron Finch, David Warner (vc), Danushka Gunathilaka, Glenn Maxwell (c), Alex Carey (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Lasith Malinga.