Australia vs India 3rd T20I Preview: Opportunity for Kohli's boys to gain psychological advantage before Test series with clean sweep
As India beat Australia by six wickets in the second T20I, they registered their longest winning streak in T20Is, stretching over their last 10 completed matches.
LIVE - Australia vs India 3rd T20I
Opportunity for clean sweep
One might argue that there isn't a lot of difference between 3-0 and 2-1, but there is. One translates into a win percentage of 100% while the other is at 66.67%. Plus, the embarrassment that you can inflict on the opposition by claiming a clean sweep, albeit in a three-match series, gives you an edge, especially on a long tour.
Most would agree that while the white-ball fixtures have been action-packed, they are just the starters for the main course of the test series, which is the marquee international series this year.
Again, the argument that can be made is that both the playing XIs would be different and the format would be different. But, there is always a psychological advantage when you are coming on the back of some good performances and the morale in the camp is high. Especially, with Virat Kohli flying back to India after the first test match, he would want to win the remaining two matches and leave the team in good shape.
If India manage to clean sweep the T20I series, as they did back in 2016, there will be a few records to be set and broken.
Huge positive for India to win it without big names
Virat Kohli alluded to it in the post-match press conference that India is without two star players in this format - Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. That they have won the series in the absence of these big players says a lot about the depth in Indian cricket.
Extending the point, India is currently playing with three pace bowlers Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and T Natarajan, all of whom are not part of the test squad. This again speaks volumes of the bench strength of Team India.
Having once been a country which struggled to produce fast bowlers, they are now in a position to afford a different set of pace bowlers for different formats.
India's new set of pacers doing well
It hasn't been easy for the pace bowlers in white-ball matches but the trio of Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and T Natarajan have done a commendable job. Natarajan, in particular, has bowled like a veteran of several international games and it hasn't looked like he has made both his T20 and one-day debut on this tour.
Deepak Chahar hasn't had the best of times but Shardul Thakur has made up for it by mixing up his length and pace beautifully. Washington Sundar also came back nicely after getting some tap in the second T20. Yuzvendra Chahal won them the series opener.
Likewise in the batting, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have all contributed, which leaves India in a good space.
Runs aplenty in Sydney
All the three matches that have been played in Sydney in the series till now have been quite high-scoring, with the bowlers not having a lot in the surface to use. That the boundaries on one side are quite short has made things even more comfortable for batsmen.
The last of six white-ball fixtures between the two teams will also be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where another score in the range of 200 is expected. However, the team batting first won't be complacent as India showed that even scores in that range are chaseable if you play your cards right.
Both teams to remain unchanged
A combination of players being rested for the upcoming test series and a few injuries has meant that both teams do not have many players left on the bench to try out and they will go in with the same playing XI.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Australia - D Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Matthew Wade (c & wk), Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Swepson, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye
India - KL Rahul (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan, Yuzvendra Chahal
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