India’s batting unit faltered in Visakhapatnam in the two-T20I rubber opener. They were restricted to a below-par 126/7 in 20 overs.
Bengaluru: After a thrilling finish in the opening T20I in Visakhapatnam, where India went down to Australia by three wickets on the final ball, the series climaxes here in Bengaluru at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday night (February 27) with a high-scoring contest expected.
India’s batting unit faltered in Visakhapatnam in the two-T20I rubber opener. They were restricted to a below-par 126/7 in 20 overs. However, their bowlers kept fighting hard and took the game to the last over where the visitors prevailed, scoring 14 from Umesh Yadav’s six deliveries.
This was after an excellent spell of bowling by Jasprit Bumrah (3/16 in 4 overs) including an exceptional 19th over of the innings where he gave away just two runs and took two wickets off final two balls.
Now, the action shifts to Bengaluru, which is captain Virat Kohli’s second home, being Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) skipper in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
With the Chinnaswamy Stadium strip set to aid batsmen, India’s batting might will be on view.
All-rounder Krunal Pandya, who spoke to the media on the eve of the match on Tuesday, said the pitch looks better than the one in Visakhapatnam.
“The wicket looks good here. Obviously, I guess it would be better than what it was in Vizag (Visakhapatnam). We expect more runs on this wicket compared to Vizag,” Pandya said.
Barring KL Rahul’s impressive half century (36-ball 50) in Visakhapatnam, the rest could not get going in a big way. MS Dhoni struggled for his 29 not out off 37 balls while Kohli hit a 17-ball 24.
The Indian batsmen will feel much more comfortable in Bengaluru. With short boundaries, fans can witness plenty of fours and sixes.
Pandya said India wanted to have a good momentum going into the World Cup and they will try to win every game they play and it was no different tomorrow which is a must-win one to share the series honours.
“Obviously it is important to go out there and win every game, but eventually, we have to remember that it's cricket. It is sport, it's an unpredictable sport. Obviously whenever we step on to the field we want to win every game. Talking about momentum, I guess we have been doing really well. We have not been losing consecutive matches, and we have been losing one or two games. If I talk about momentum with the Indian team, I'm sure tomorrow as well as in the one-day side we'll do well,” he said.
After the last game, Kohli had said they want to give Rahul and Rishabh Pant enough game time before the World Cup. Hence they both are likely to continue and that means Shikhar Dhawan won’t be back. However, the left-handed opener batted in the nets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium’s ‘B’ ground on Tuesday.
The most likely and the only change India might opt for is replacing Umesh Yadav with all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Or they could even look at paceman Siddarth Kaul.
For Australia, it will be a “huge result” if they managed to pull off a series win tomorrow, according to fast bowler Pat Cummins, who along with Jhye Richardson gave them victory in the last-over thriller in the first T20I.
“(Series win) hasn't happened for a while, especially overseas, especially in a place like India, which is so foreign to Australian conditions. (Winning) against one of the best sides in the world would be a huge result for us,” Cummins told reporters on Tuesday.
“We thought we had the game sown up last night and like all the really good sides they just fought their way back. We know tomorrow night we have to play really well. They're going to come back and play really well like they always do. Let's see how we go, but to be one up in an away series, we haven't been in this position for a while, so it's great,” he added.
When Australian players trained on Tuesday, former batsman Matthew Hayden was seen being involved in it. He is here as a TV commentator for the host broadcaster. He was seen having a long chat with his former opening partner and now head coach of the team, Justin Langer.
The big worry for Australia is their skipper Aaron Finch’s form. He was dismissed for a duck in Visakhapatnam. The visitors are likely to retain the same eleven.
After the two-match T20I series, India and Australia will play five ODIs, starting in Hyderabad on March 2.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Mayank Markande.
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), D'Arcy Short, Pat Cummins, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa.
Match starts 7 PM IST
Last Updated 26, Feb 2019, 3:31 PM