After the 2021 T20 World Cup, India has played a total of 29 T20Is in this series. Australia, meanwhile, have only played nine. Regardless of their preparation, Australia could show up to the T20 World Cup in their usual confident fashion – but this time they have to defend the title in their backyard. And they have a lot to figure out compared to their more prepared opponents.
India WLLWW (last five games completed, newest first)
In the spotlight
All eyes will be on it TimDavid, who will show off his power hitting skills, this time in the colors of Australia. The Singapore-born batter has impressed in various T20 competitions, most recently the IPL, and will be looking to repeat his success on the international stage. Aside from his great hitting skills, his ability to take on spinners and quicks alike makes him a must have on a T20 team. He has an average of 32.48 with a batting average of 164.12 in T20s. He should take middle place in this series in the absence of Stoinis. But Australia will not be able to accommodate him if both Stoinis and Marsh are fit when the World Cup begins. It’s Smith’s position that seems a bit vulnerable at the moment – but he too has a reputation for being the anchor in the XI – so it remains to be seen how Australia will fit David into their World Cup XI.
Rishabh trousers couldn’t quite live up to expectations in the T20 format. In T20Is since 2020, he has averaged just 27.63 and hit in 32 innings for 129.95. At the Asia Cup, Pant had to be brought into the starting XI in place of Dinesh Karthik following an injury to Ravindra Jadeja as India wanted a left-handed batsman down the middle. But he could only score 17 and 14 points in the Super 4 against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. While having Pant and Karthik in the squad offers them flexibility, it looks like India can only place one of the two in the XI at the moment. Pant will need to use his time midway through the upcoming T20Is to get back into shape ahead of the T20 World Championship.
Umesh Yadav, originally set to undergo rehab for a quad injury in Bengaluru, was called up to the squad after Mohammed Shami tested positive for Covid-19. But with the return of Bumrah and Harshal, India are unlikely to play Umesh in the eleven.
India (likely): 1 Rohit Sharma (Captain), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Rishabh Pant/ Dinesh Karthik (week), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/ Deepak Chahar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Without Marsh, Smith will beat third-placed India. David is expected to make his Australian debut in the middle order. Australia are also likely to feature Inglis – who has played 3rd and middle order in T20Is so far – as the opener and push Matthew Wade down the order. Cameron Green, who has impressed with ball and racquet, has been brought back into the T20I squad – having played a singles game in April this year – and is likely to find a place in the XI as well.
Australia (likely): 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Josh Inglis, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Matthew Wade (wk), 6 Tim David, 7 Cameron Green, 8 Adam Zampa, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 SeanAbbott
pitch and conditions
Tomorrow is expected to be partly cloudy and humid in Mohali with a 25% chance of precipitation in the evening. In T20s since 2018, the chasing team has won seven out of 11 games at the venue. On the eve of the game, Finch said the wicket had “a bit of grass on it”.
“… Only we know what role each person is expected to play. Everyone is trying to do their best and not every time a player is going to succeed. And that’s the kind of environment we’ve created where the Players are not afraid to play, or players are not afraid to make mistakes.”
KL Raul to constant criticism from outside
“The last thing you want to do is have an injury derail your entire campaign because you’re locked into one style of cricket or one team structure.”
Aaron Finch is open to experiments with the XI
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo