India vs Australia: T20 series preview and prediction

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    After being comprehensively beaten in the ODI series, Australia will turn their attention to trying to get something from their limited overs tour of an in-form and dominant India, with a three-match T20 series starting in Ranchi.

    The ODI series was as close to a disaster as Australia could get. Despite a victory in the fourth match, that was with India’s first choice bowling attacking having a rest and watching on from the sidelines.

    While there were glimpses of form for the Australians, particularly in the top order throughout the series, things never clicked. They collapsed more often than not and the scoreline ending 4-1 was a fair reflection in the difference between the two sides.

    Steve Smith’s men struggled to gain the ascendancy at any point throughout the five matches. The skipper himself struggled to make a difference, with David Warner and Aaron Finch the only two to show a great deal of form with the bat.

    Finch missed the start of the series, but made 124 during his first outing and another 96 in the fourth match of the series when he combined with Warner for a 200-run opening stand – the biggest ever in Bengaluru.

    Australian batsman Aaron Finch celebrates after scoring a century, during the One Day International cricket match against South Africa in Harare Zimbabwe Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The two teams are competing in a triangular ODI series with Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Despite the few bright spots for the Aussie top order, their bowlers were carted. Patrick Cummins, who has been rested from the T20 series wasn’t able to provide a great deal, and he received very little support.

    Adam Zampa struggled for control throughout the series, and worryingly for Australia, the runs were shared around by the Indian batsmen, many of whom will be backing up in the shortest form of the game. Rohit Sharma, M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli all had strong performances throughout while Hardik Pandya enjoyed plenty of runs early in the series.

    With Australia looking fatigued and thoroughly beaten in the fifth match of the series, even the adition of players like Andrew Tye, Moises Henriques and Tim Paine don’t even appear close to being enough for the visitors to stand a chance.

    History

    Last five T20 matches
    2016 T20 World Cup, March 27 – India defeat Australia by 6 wickets at Mohali
    January 31, 2016 – India defeat Australia by 7 wickets at Sydney Cricket Ground
    January 29, 2016 – India defeat Australia by 27 runs Melbourne Cricket Ground
    January 26, 2016 – India defeat Australia by 37 runs at Adelaide Oval

    Last five T20 series
    2016 – India 3 defeat Australia 0 in Australia
    2013 – India 1 defeat Australia 0 in India
    2012 – Australia 1 draw India 1 in Australia
    2008 – Australia 1 defeat India 0 in Australia
    2007 – India 1 defeat Australia 0 in India

    Overall record: Played 13, India 9, Australia 4
    Record in India Played 3, India 3, Australia 0

    India 2017 T20’s
    September 6, 2017 – India defeat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets at Colombo
    July 6, 2017 – West Indies defeat India by 9 wickets at Kingston
    February 1, 2017 – India defeat England by 75 runs at Bengalaru
    January 29, 2017 – India defeat England by 5 runs at Nagpur
    January 26, 2017 – England defeat India by 7 wickets at Kanpur

    Australia 2017 T20’s
    February 22, 2017 – Australia defeat Sri Lanka by 41 runs at Adelaide Oval
    February 19, 2017 – Sri Lanka defeat Australia by 2 wickets at Simmonds Stadium, Geelong
    February 17, 2017 – Sri Lanka defeat Australia by 5 wickets at Melbourne Cricket Ground

    Can Australia reverse the momentum?
    Momentum is a funny thing in sport, and with the sides more or less the same for the T20 series, it’s going to take a huge effort for the Australians to turn things around.

    Out of the beaten ODI side, remaining in India are Smith, Warner, Finch, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa who will make up a bulk of the team.

    With the exception of Warner, Finch and at times Coulter-Nile, none of them showed great form during the ODI series. They looked more like a team playing in a pointless series in 40-degree heat against a team they knew were better than them – and to be honest, that’s exactly what the series was.

    So, turning things around for the T20 series looks less than promising. The Indian juggernaut, led by Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Dhoni and one of the best death bowlers in world cricket, Jasprit Bumrah are on fire. Their form is fantastic, and with momentum on their side they are expected to roll straight through this T20 series without a second glance.

    If Australia are going to mount any sort of comeback and leave India with a result to their name in one of the two series, then a fast start in the first match to snatch some of the momentum away will be crucial.

    Stopping Dhoni and Kohli will be key to victory for Australia
    Dhoni and Kohli – the former captain and the captain. Dhoni is one of the best short form players in the world, while Kohli has proven to be one fo the best batsmen in the world across all three formats of the game.

    Both are dangerous, have every shot in the book and some that aren’t, and can make the best of a bad situation. While incostincey flowed from India’s best two players in the ODI series, they weren’t affected with others standing up around them.

    Despite that, when Kohli and Dhoni got going, they took no time at all to remind everyone of what they could do – and none of it is good news for Australia.

    With the visitors taking a seemingly weak attack into this series, missing Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins now with a misfiring spinner in Zampa, it seems as if Kohli and Dhoni could rack up some huge scores on flat tracks for the hosts.

    India's MS Dhoni bats during their ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket semifinal match against the West Indies at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, India,Thursday, March 31, 2016.

    (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

    Will anyone be able to help David Warner and Aaron Finch?
    The third and fourth ODI’s saw Australia get off to a decent start with the bat thanks to Finch and Warner. While Finch scored a century in the third match – his first back from injury – it was a strong effort in Bengularu, as they ran up a 200-run stand.

    They both played the role the team needed them to, not taking outrageous risks, but still managing to tick it over at close to six runs per over. Warner’s century was hit with great patience, but his built his innings strongly, while Finch was dismissed on 96.

    The fourth ODI is a great way to showcase the fact Australia don’t have a great deal of batting after Warner and Finch, with the side falling away and only some big hitting from Peter Handscomb getting them to 330, when 400 had looked on the cards at one point.

    While Smith failed for most of the ODI series, outside of him, it’s hard to see exactly where Australia will have runs coming from aside Warner and Finch, who simply can’t be expected to do it all. Head and Maxwell are out of form, while Paine and Henriques have left a lot to be desired throughout their career in the shortest form of the game.

    Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan are dangerous, but why was Ajinkya Rahane left out?
    India, in short form cricket, could have the most dangerous opening pair in the world. With Warner and Finch on the opposing team sheet, that takes one mighty effort.

    We all know what Rohit Sharma is capable of. He has gone past 6,000 ODI runs and has a double century to his name, while he also has three T20 centuries to his name and a career strike rate of 131.

    That’s impressive in anyone’s books. Australia will also remember vividly what Shikar Dhawan has done to them in the past, having scored 187 from 174 balls on his Test match debut against Australia in 2013.

    Dhawan’s career has gone solidly since, and he has 37 T20 half-centuries to his name.

    While Dhawan and Sharma have the potential to be the most dominant opening combination in the cricketing world, the question has to be asked around Rahane, and whether India got their selection right.

    Rahane has seven half-centuries and a century opening the innings for India in one-day cricket this year and while he hasn’t played a great deal of T20 cricket is in form that warrants another crack at it given a domestic average of 30.41 and a strike rate of 118.54.

    Regardless though, whichever way India go with their squad after this series, they have the potential to carry a dangerous opening combination which can rip an opposition team in half at the start of a match.

    Shikhar Dhawan

    (Photo: AAP)

    Key series information: India vs Australia T20

    Series fixtures
    1st match: Saturday, October 7 (Sunday, October 8 AEDT) at JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
    2nd match: Tuesday, October 10 (Wednesday, October 11 AEDT) at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
    3rd match: Friday, October 13 (Saturday, October 14 AEDT) at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

    First ball: 12:30am (AEDT)
    TV: Live, Fox Sports
    Online: Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel Now
    Series betting odds: India $1.75, Australia $3.05

    Squads

    India
    Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.

    Australia
    Steve Smith (captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Jason Behrendorff, Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

    Hours of play

    Session Start (AEDT) Finish (AEDT) Finish (Local) Finish (local) Duration
    1st innings 12:30 AM 1:55 AM 7:00 PM 8:25 PM 1 hour and 25 minutes
    Break 1:55 AM 2:15 AM 8:25 PM 8:45 PM 20 minutes
    2nd Innings 2:15 AM 3:40 AM 8:45 PM 8:10 PM 1 hour and 25 minutes

    Prediction

    India are going to win, with the only question being how heavily. This is a side who are in all sorts of form, and while there have been a few changes from the ODI squads for both teams, they carry all the momentum.

    In all three formats, India have been brilliant recently and it’s hard to see an Australian side with their minds set on a home summer and the Ashes posing much of a threat. They don’t have the bowlers to do enough damage, even if Warner, Finch and Head were to go crazy.

    India will do this in a canter. The only way it won’t end 3-0 is if there is washout, which, being in India at this time of year is closer to what might happen than most would like.

    India 3 – Australia 0

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    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.