As three match T20I series gets under way in Ranchi, Australia look to take some confidence from this series going into the all-important Ashes. But the visitors suffered a huge blow ahead of the 1st T20 as their captain, ever reliable Steve Smith ruled out of the series with shoulder injury. Even though they have the players who could make up for the batting of Smith (considering T20 only) it remains to be seen how well they could make this opportunity count.
Australia have made as many as five changes to their squad, it would be interesting to see if these changes could change their fortunes. While Australia had their chances in the ODI series, they got only themselves to be blamed for ending upon the wrong side. Daniel Christian who has been in great form and already won 2 T20 titles this year and was part of runner up team in another will try to make most of his purple patch with both bat and ball.
Australia have the set of players who could single handedly turn the game in their favor and that is all it needed in the shortest format of the game, Australia need not be told this as they were at the receiving end of such performances from Asela gunaratne last time they played a T20 series. So combined with explosive hitters and experienced T20 players like Christian Australia could well count their chances to to beat India.
India meanwhile will once again largely rely on same core group that won the ODI series 4-1. Shikhar Dhawan’s return will bring more aggression at the top and it will be fascinating to see if the old wily Ashish Nehra delivers on his return to the team. K.L.Rahul inspite of recent low stringe of scores in Sri Lanka should get a game given his record in T20 matches and Dinesh karthik, the stylish keeper-batsman may not be directly slotted into the team unless the team wants to rest M.S.Dhoni (which can’t and won’t happen in Ranchi.).
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey/K.L.Rahul, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal/Ashish Nehra
Probable XI: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Henriques, Dan Christian, Tim Paine (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Andrew Tye/KaneRichardson, Adam Zampa