Dec 3, 2020
Andrew McGlashanDeputy editor, ESPNcricinfo
- Deputy Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England’s batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
A very quick change of format and into one where there is a little more urgency to get things right ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup. As per the ICC rankings, this series pits second against third, so it has the makings of a good contest on surfaces that are likely to favour the bat.
Australia were the top-ranked side earlier this year but lost that tag during the 2-1 series defeat in England: last summer they won five out of their six matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, peaking nicely for the home World Cup that was ultimately postponed due to the pandemic.
In this series they are already without David Warner and Pat Cummins while Marnus Stoinis is recovering from a side strain, Mitchell Starc missed the last ODI with a back niggle and Ashton Agar appeared to pick up a calf strain. Mitchell Marsh is also missing from the side that finished the series in England, so there will need to be some new allrounders in the middle order.
ALSO WATCH: Pandya, Jadeja and the quicks give India first win of the tour (Indian subcontinent only)
India’s players (as with a number of the Australians) are coming off the IPL, albeit with a gap of a few weeks, so their T20 games should be in decent order. They could feature a couple of players who were not part of the one-day series and there will be eyes on what combination they go with at the top of the order. With the first of the Test warm-up matches overlapping with the second two matches, it could be some players are released for that contest.
Australia WLLWL (last five completed matches)
India WT (won Super Over) T (won Super Over) WW
In the spotlight
Glenn Maxwell is in a bit of form. The one-day series brought 167 runs at a strike rate of 194.18, which followed on from his successful series in England. Between that was a very lean IPL where he did not manage a single six. The interesting part about this series will be how Australia use him in the batting order given how well he has struck the ball in the one-dayers. There could be a temptation to give him as much time as possible, but he also has the ability to play a role few others can in the latter overs. Don’t be surprised to see him bowling in the powerplay, either.
Jasprit Bumrah looked as though he was getting his mojo back in the third ODI after a slow start to the tour. He claimed the decisive wicket when he speared one into the base of Maxwell’s stumps and, importantly, was playing with a smile on his face again after letting some frustrations become clear in Sydney. His IPL form was outstanding – 27 wickets with an economy of 6.73 – but it remains to be seen if he plays this whole series before focusing on Test cricket.
When Warner was rested for the last T20I against England, Wade took his place so that could be the route again this time, although D’Arcy Short has been added to the squad. The absence of Mitchell Marsh and probably Stoinis opens slots in the middle order. Alex Carey was dropped for the last match against England but could regain his spot. The bowling could be a range of combinations depending on the status of various niggles.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Matthew Wade, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Sean Abbott, 9 AJ Tye/Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Who wants one of these new Australia shirts?
They will wear this new Indigenous kit in the T20I series against India. pic.twitter.com/bNg77oTdL4
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 30, 2020
Does KL Rahul move up the order? All his runs in IPL came from top of the order, and he opened in his last T20I series. If he moves up the order, India will have to decide between playing a specialist batsman in Manish Pandey and allrounder Washington Sundar. Given the batting form of Hardik and Jadeja, they may well look towards an extra bowling option in Sundar, who has had decent IPL form coming into the series. Also, T Natarajan could be handed a T20I debut.
India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Manish Pandey/Washington Sundar, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 T Natarajan, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Pitch and conditions
It has the makings of a high-scoring contest. In the BBL, Manuka Oval has the highest run rate (8.56) of any ground to have hosted more than a single game. It has only hosted one T20I – last year between Australia and Pakistan – when the home side comfortably chased 151.
The forecast is for a fine evening.
Stats and trivia
In 20 T20Is between the two countries it is 11-8 in favour of India although Australia won the previous series 2-0 in India
Since January 2019, Australia has the highest batting average in T20Is
“I’m going to be hanging around the T20 group, try and put my hand up for selection. Also at the back of my mind there is a Test series coming up, so preparing for that. But you’ve got to prepare for where you are right now and that’s the T20 guys.
Allrounder Cameron Green, who debuted for Australia during the ODIs