India have begun the series on the worst possible note, failing to defend 208. For the right reasons, the focus is now on the Indian bowlers as the series caravan has now moved to Nagpur, for the second T20I. It is a must-win series for India, especially considering their streak in the bilateral series since Rohit Sharma has taken over as the captain.
There is a strong possibility that Jasprit Bumrah could return to the playing XI, which only would bolster the hosts against a strong Australian batting unit. In Mohali, the Australian batters, despite missing three strong pillars, made lightweight of the run-chase. Cameron Green starred with the bat, scoring a 30-ball 61.
Matthew Wade, lower down the batting unit too tonked the ball all over the place with a 21-ball 45. So, India would need to find answers immediately if they are to save the series.
Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium has been home to several thrillers from the past, including the 2019 ODI between India and Australia, where India won by eight runs. It is a venue that hasn’t been a high-scoring one, with the average first innings score being 155. For teams that are looking to defend a total in India, something that is almost next to impossible, they should target somewhere close to 170.
However, given that no game has been played here in the last three years, it is tough to predict how many runs would be on offer. 245 wickets here have been picked by the pacers and 168 by the spinners. So, expect the pacers to be yet again amongst the wickets.
India have just won two encounters out of the four here. Remember the 2016 encounter where New Zealand trashed India? It was here, a match where spinners dominated. In India’s last T20I here, Deepak Chahar was the Player of the Match, with figures of 6/7.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Hardik Pandya (c), Adam Zampa (vc)
For grand leagues: Cameron Green (c), Suryakumar Yadav (vc)
Stats that matter
- Just like Mohali, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium too is one where KL Rahul has a great record. In just two innings at the venue, the right-handed opener has scored 123 runs off 82 balls, averaging 61.5, at a strike-rate of 150. On Tuesday too, Rahul was impressive with a 35-ball 55, with four boundaries and three sixes.
- Hardik Pandya has the best strike-rate in the series and is also the leading run-scorer in the ongoing three-match T20I series vs Australia. The right-hander smacked 71 runs off just 30 balls, with seven boundaries and five sixes. With Hardik batting at No.5, expect more runs from the all-rounder
- In all T20Is at the venue, 74 wickets have been picked by the pacers, at an average of 23.6. The spinners, on the other hand, have scalped 70 wickets, averaging 21.7, which shows that it is a venue that has something on offer for everyone.
Grand League punts
- Cameron Green is just two T20I old but his performance already has made the town talk about him. So much so that some of the world stars have reckoned that he could be the richest pick in IPL 2023. His 61 came off 30 balls and alongside that, he also picked the important wicket of Suryakumar Yadav. So, you know what you will get if you do rope him in your team.
- No.3 ranked T20I batter, Suryakumar is yet another player who is a differentiator between winning leagues and topping leagues. The right-hander scored 46 off just 25 balls, and showed what makes him special. On Friday, expect the 32-year-old to carry on his great form.
Here are the top ten Criclytics Projections
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal