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With the ODIs done and dusted, the Australians will take on the Indians in a 3-match T20I series which is set to begin on Friday. The Baggy Greens dominated the Men in Blue in the first two matches of the ODI series but Virat Kohli and Co. made a stunning comeback in the final ODI to restore some pride and the series ended up in the favor of Australia. 2-1. 

The First T20I between Australia and India is set to take place at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, the same venue as the third ODI was played. The pitch as we saw was a belter and for that reason, we can once again expect a high-scoring encounter between the two sides.

The Indians will be feeling confident after the win and hope they can turn the fortunes in the favor of the T20I series. A series win here is likely to put them ahead of the Aussies in the ICC World T20 rankings. 

Australia will feel very unfortunate as they will be missing their key players like David Warner, Pat Cummins, Marcus Stoinis, and Mitchell Starc have been struck with injury and looks highly unlikely that they will be available for the 1st T20I.

The last time the two sides clashed in a T20I series was during the Australian tour of India in 2019 where the Aussies whitewashed the hosts 2-0. Aaron Finch and Co. will be hoping they can replicate the same performance despite the number of injuries in their camp.

A different format, a format which the youngsters have been known to perform. Can the Indian team make the most of the domestic experience? Or will it be the Baggy greens who once dominate the proceedings?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 20, India- 11, Australia- 8, N/R- 1

Team News

Australians have been dealt with huge blows as many of their key players have been struck with injury and seem to be unavailable for the T20I series. It was confirmed before the start of the 3rd ODI that their opener David Warner would not be part of the T20I series as he is suffering from a groin injury. 

To make things worse, their lead bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were also reported to be injured. There are no reports of the extent of injury of the pace duo and Australia will be hoping they can make a return to the side as soon as possible. 

Virat Kohli and Co. on the other side will be feeling confident after their consolation win over the Aussies and will be excited with the way the debutant T. Natarajan performed. With Shubman Gill not in the squad and KL Rahul likely to open the innings along with Dhawan. It looks like Flamboyant middle-order batsman Manish Pandey will play his first match of the tour.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch in Manuka Oval as we saw is in favor of the batsmen and is likely to remain that way for this encounter. Said that the occasional bounce will help the pacers but overall, a high-scoring game is on the cards once again. The batting first has seen more success than chasing and the 3rd ODI did back that up. The team winning the toss should be looking to bat first and any score more than 190 is likely to put the chasing team in a spot of bother.

The conditions are ideal for cricket as it is expected to be clear and sunny. The temperatures are expected to hover around the 25- 16 degree mark during the evening and the humidity is also predicted to be on the lower side, as it is only expected to reach the 29 percent mark at peak.

Probable Playing Xl

Australia (Aus): Aaron Finch (C), D'arcy Short, Steve Smith, Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott, Daniel Sams, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

India (Ind):  KL Rahul (WK), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, T Natarajan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

Key Battles

Kl Rahul (Ind) vs Josh Hazlewood (Aus)

Kl Rahul vs Josh Hazlewood India
Kl Rahul (Ind) vs Josh Hazlewood (Aus)

The Kings Xl Punjab is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the current squad and he will be looking to make most of the opening slot. The wicket-keeper batsman failed to score big barring the 2nd ODI and given his standards, he is likely to make up for it in the T20I. On the other side is the most successful bowler of Australia in the ODI series- Josh Hazlewood.

The pacer was the key in making sure the Indians fell short of the chase in the first two matches and he will once again have to lead the pace attack in the absence of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. The pacer claimed 6 wickets from the 3 matches played and he also managed to pick up the prize wicket of the Indian skipper on all three occasions.

Can the Aussie pacer replicate his ODI performance? Or will KL Rahul dictate things with the bat as he did in the recently concluded IPL 2020?

Steve Smith (Aus) vs Jasprit Bumrah (Ind)

Steve Smith vs Jasprit Bumrah India
Steve Smith (Aus) vs Jasprit Bumrah (Ind)

The former Australian skipper Steve Smith is in stunning form as he was one of the main reasons for the Australian domination in the first two matches. The 31-year old scored two back to back centuries and looked in prime touch. The third ODI saw Smith edge a loose leg-side delivery by Thakur. He will be looking to pile on the runs once again and if the Men in Blue are to come top, they will have to see the back of Smith as early as possible in the innings.

India will be hoping their strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah can deliver the goods for them. The World no.2 was seen out of form in the first two matches but made a good comeback in the 3rd ODI to dismiss the threatening Glenn Maxwell by bowling his trademark yorker that took the middle stump for a swing. 

Can Bumrah keep hitting the middle-stump? Or will the former Aussie keep adding onto his runs tally?

Prediction

The Aussies showed great touch in the ODI series, but India was never out of the fight. It was the matter of poor bowling in the first two matches that cost Men in Blue. The arrival of Natarajan and Bumrah getting his rhythm means that Team India will be a tough side to beat.

The conditions are in favor of the Aussies but India is a team that start slow and attains the rhythm, especially in the foreign conditions. With many of Australia's key players injured, Virat Kohli and Co. seem to be the favorites in this encounter.

Cricwizz predicts India to win the 1st T20I