Australia vs India 1st T20I Preview: Kohli's boys look to ride on momentum as Australia miss big guns
Australia are without some of their key players which gives Indian an opportunity to hit back in the T20Is, after a defeat in the ODI series.
New faces waiting to make the XI
India did win the 3rd ODI against a depleted Australian attack but the team was without David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins and was a lot weaker than they are at full strength. Still, a victory in the final match of the ODI series will help India's spirits.
The visitors, too, experimented with their playing XI, bringing in the likes of Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Kuldeep Yadav and Shubman Gill, all of whom did a fine job.
Neither of the sides would have wanted a lot of personnel to change but as both sides switch formats, there will be some changes in the playing XIs.
Australia missing key players
India will have a great opportunity of hitting back at Australia with a win in the T20I series as Australia are without a couple of their key players. While Pat Cummins has been rested from the T20Is to get some much-needed rest before the 4-match test series, David Warner has injured his groin and is not a certainty even for the first test match.
Mitchell Starc had a few niggles, which is why he was rested for the final ODI. Although Finch said that he might be available for the T20I series, it is unlikely that Australia would want to risk him given the magnitude of the test series.
KL Rahul to keep wickets and open
The biggest change and probably the most impactful one for India will be the promotion of KL Rahul to the top of the order. Rahul had to bat in the middle order due to the load of keeping wickets for 50 overs. However, in the 20-over format, he can make do with both roles, which will provide strength to India's top order.
He will open the batting along with Shikhar Dhawan in the absence of Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer are likely to bat at 3 and 4.
Extra bowler vital for India
India have the option of playing both Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, but in that case, they will have to play with just five bowlers which is not ideal, especially given that their fifth bowler Ravindra Jadeja can go for a few runs.
This means that India will have to pick one between Iyer and Pandey for the number 4 spot and trust Hardik Pandya to bat at number 5. Pandya, who is a reluctant bowler at the moment, has shown that he is more than capable of playing as a pure batsman in the ODI series and should be given the added responsibility.
Ravindra Jadeja is also a good enough batsman to bat at number 6. India can then play spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar which provides some substance to their batting order. With the ball, T20I specialist Deepak Chahar is expected to come into the fray.
With the test series set to begin shortly, it will be ideal for India to play only one of Mohammed Shami or Jasprit Bumrah. In that case, T Natarajan, who did a fine job in the last ODI, can make his T20 debut.
Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to be preferred over Kuldeep Yadav. But, given that Kuldeep bowled well in the last ODI, you never know what's inside Virat Kohli's mind.
Wade or Short? Sams or Starc?
Australia will have to pick between Matthew Wade and D'arcy Short to open alongside Aaron Finch in the absence of David Warner. They can also go with the left-field option of opening with wicket-keeper Alex Carey.
The other choice that the home side will have to make is between all-rounders Moises Henriques and Cameron Green for the number four slot. Henriques is likely to be preferred. Marnus Labuschagne is another option but the team is unlikely to go down that route.
Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa will be their two spinners while Josh Hazlewood and Sean Abbott will get the assistance of Daniel Sams in case Mitchell Starc does not pull up well enough.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade/D'arcy Short, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques/Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc/Daniel Sams, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa
India - KL Rahul (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer/Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, T Natarajan, Mohammed Shami/Jasprit Bumrah
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