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India vs Australia, 1st T20I Preview: T20 World Champions and No. 1 T20 side in battle for supremacy

India vs Australia, 1st T20I Preview
India vs Australia, 1st T20I Preview

The three T20Is are crucial for both teams to settle on to their preferred starting playing XI ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. 

Live Scores, Fixtures and Stats - India v Australia T20 series - All Matches

Quirk of scheduling 

India and Australia have not come up against each other in the T20 format for a long time which is strange given that both are among the leading nations in white-ball cricket. 

Coincidentally, they weren't part of the same group in the last T20 World Cup and perhaps that is one of the reasons that they have not faced each other in T20 cricket for the last two years. The last time they came up against each other was during the iconic India tour of Australia which was played right after the extended COVID-19 break. 

Defending champions Australia are scheduled to play a couple of series at home before the T20 World Cup but what can only be called a quirk of scheduling, they find themselves in India in the lead up to the showpiece event when both teams would have ideally liked to lock horns Down Under in order to allow themselves better preparation for the task at hand. 

Oz without Starc, Marsh and Stoinis 

Australia had initially announced to tour India with the same 15 members which they have named for the World Cup. However, the injured Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Stoinis will now miss the India T20Is. 

Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams and Sean Abbott have been called up as replacements and will want to do their best as they would be aware of the golden opportunity that can fall in their lap if any of the Australian players is injured during the World Cup. 

Bumrah, Harshal return 

India have rested Arshdeep Singh who is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and is working on his conditioning. 

The good news for India though is that Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, both of whom were sorely missed during the recently concluded Asia Cup in which India were not able to make it to the final, are back in the squad and are likely to make the playing XI right away. 

Mohammed Shami was expected to get some game time after being named in the reserves for the upcoming World Cup but has tested positive for COVID-19 and Umesh Yadav has replaced him in the squad. The latter is coming on the back of some fine performances for Middlesex in the Royal London One Day Cup. 

Team combinations 

India will look to settle on to a playing XI after a lot of confusion during the Asia Cup. An injury to Ravindra Jadeja who balances out the team has increased the headache for the side. They will audition Axar Patel in the role and the series will be make or break for the left arm spinner. 

Dinesh Karthik is expected to play ahead of Rishabh Pant in the middle order despite the absence of another left hander. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya are likely to be India's top 5. Yuzvendra Chahal will play as India's lead spinner. 

Australia will potentially hand a debut cap to Tim David who is the only change from their last year's T20 World Cup squad. Kane Richardson will get a game in place of the injured Mitchell Starc while Ashton Agar or Daniel Sams will feature in the all-rounder's role. 

Predicted Playing XIs 

Australia - David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steven Smith, Tim David, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar/Daniel Sams, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood 

India - Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah 

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