December 4: Australia vs India, 1st T20I, Canberra
Pro Tip: The average score batting first at this venue in the last five T20s is 171. Only once in these five games, the chasing team has emerged victorious. So pack your team with the batsmen from the side batting first.
Our XI: KL Rahul, Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Hardik Pandya, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Jasprit Bumrah, T Natarajan
Substitutes: Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis
Player availability: David Warner and Pat Cummins are not available. Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar and Marcus Stoinis are in doubt due to their respective injury concerns. For India, Navdeep Saini might be the only unavailable player. Also, expect both teams to rest some of their key players.
We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Captain: KL Rahul
IPL 2020’s Orange Cap winner and India’s top-ranked T20I player, Rahul is a completely different player when it comes to T20 cricket. Among the top ten ranked teams, no one has scored more T20I runs than Rahul in the last two years. Don’t forget that he will be back to his favourite batting position as an opener.
Vice-captain: Glenn Maxwell
Maxwell had one of his worst IPL seasons a month back, but his form in the ODIs makes him a strong contender for vice-captain. The last time he played a T20I against India, he smashed an unbeaten 55-ball 113 which helped Australia chase down India’s 190. He has scored more T20I runs against India than any other team – 353 runs in 12 innings at an average of 35.30 and a strike rate of 145.86.
Virat Kohli: The India skipper’s numbers against Australia are simply mind-boggling: 584 runs at an average of 64.88 and a strike rate of 147.10. In Australia, he has 317 runs in seven innings at an average of 79.25. He has scored 96 runs in 60 balls without getting out even once against the pace attack of Josh Hazlewood, Starc and Andrew Tye.
Aaron Finch: We are backing the highest run-scorer in the ODI series to extend his form in T20Is too. Australia’s captain is the highest-ranked Australian batsman in T20Is (No. 3) and rightly so, having scored the most runs for Australia in the last three years with 982 runs at an average of 39.28 and a strike rate of 162.58.
Hardik Pandya: Pandya has been in fantastic form ever since landing in Australia. He was the highest run-scorer for India in the ODI series, scoring 210 runs in three games at a strike rate of 114.75. He has been nowhere near his best with the bat in T20Is so far, but is expected to make a telling impact on this tour.
Ashton Agar: In the last two years, no Australian has taken more wickets than Agar in T20Is – 20 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 6.31. His performance has peaked in the last six games where he took 13 wickets. He is also handy with the bat lower down the order.
T Natarajan: India’s newly-found yorker specialist is coming off a brilliant IPL season where he picked up 16 wickets in 16 games. Although he was a bit expensive on his ODI debut, he picked up a couple of wickets and also bowled a wicket maiden.
If Rahul is rested, make Kohli the captain of your side. Rahul’s place in the XI can be filled by Sanju Samson.
Hazlewood can replace Starc depending on the playing XI.
If Stoinis is playing and opening the batting, he can replace Shikhar Dhawan.