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The first match of the much awaited India’s tour of Australia 2018-19 is about to get underway. We have the T20 series first up on the menu and like all formats, this promises to be an intriguing contest. Here are some things to consider ahead of the first T20. India is the second-ranked team in T20 internationals while Australia is the third.
India won its last two T20 series overseas in South Africa and England. It has also won 7 out of the last 8 T20 matches against Australia. The last time India played a T20 series in Australia, the result was 3-0 in favor of the visitors.
Australia has recently lost a one-off T20 against South Africa and while its longer format teams might be in disarray, the T20 side is pretty well set. There is plenty of power to call upon and some very talented bowlers to rely upon.
Australia may not be the force it once was but it is still one of the best sides in the world playing with home advantage.
There is not much a rain-truncated one-off T20 match against South Africa can tell us. We hope that is the way the selectors also think because the same squad has been selected to face India as well. The side requires some continuity and changing the personnel from match to match is not going to help.
Aaron Finch is going to lead the T20 side. He has a good record against India and will be hoping to make the most of his opportunities in this series. He leads a very powerful batting lineup that has been misfiring a bit off late.
This poor form could actually lead to an underestimation of the danger it poses and some excellent betting opportunities. Sample this. Australia has Finch, Lynn, Short, McDermott, Maxwell, Carey, and Stoinis in its lineup.
That’s seven genuinely gifted batsmen all of whom can score at an incredible pace and take the game away from the opposition. If anything, we think Australia is playing one batsman too many and could add a wrist-spinner like Adam Zampa to the side.
The player to watch out for in this series is going to be Chris Lynn. He has been struggling for runs in the international arena but is at his best in Australian conditions. Given the license to play freely at the top of the order, Lynn can be absolutely destructive.
He has also played a couple of seasons in the IPL and is well aware of what the Indian bowlers have in store.
Darcy Short and Glen Maxwell are also players that could find the Indian bowling to their liking. Marcus Stoinis is a highly improved batsman but seems to be batting a bit too down the order to have maximum impact.
Facing the wrist-spinners from India is going to be a tough test and it will be interesting to see how this Australian batting lineup goes.
The Aussie bowling is going to be led by Nathan Coulter-Nile and Billy Stanlake. Coulter-Bile swings the ball up front and is a very good wicket taker while Billy Stanlake can make life difficult by extracting genuine bounce from the surface.
With Tye’s variations very effective in the death overs, the only area where the Aussies might be a little light is the spinner. Glen Maxwell is good but he is not going to trouble the Indian batsmen.
D'Arcy Short, Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ben McDermott, Alex Carey, AJ Tye, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorfff, Billy Stanlake.
A 3-0 win over the West Indies and plenty of success in the white ball format overseas would make the Indian confident of winning in Australia as well. There have been four players that have been central to India’s success and will play a major role in this series as well.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the batting have been outstanding while Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah in the bowling department have led the way. All four of these players are hugging the top of the ICC rankings in their respective disciplines and will want to stamp their authority in the first match itself.
Is there anything left to write about Virat Kohli that has not already been written? He has been managing his workload very carefully but will play every match in Australia. He has stated that he wants to lead an Indian side that can dominate abroad and that obviously begins with him.
Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world and the only other person who can possibly challenge him for this title in the limited overs game is Rohit Sharma. His fourth T20 international century against the West Indies put him ahead of every other batsman in the world in this format.
Rohit Sharma is in supreme form, likes the ball coming on to the bat, and has scored plenty of runs in white ball cricket in Australia previously.
That is not to say there no other dangerous batsmen in this side. India has the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Rishab Pant, and Dinesh Karthik in the squad as well.
On the bowling side, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, and Khaleel Ahmed seem to pick themselves in the opening match on current form. The choice for the fourth bowler will be between Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, or Umesh Yadav.
Krunal Pandya could also get a look-in at the expense of one of the batsmen adding another all-round option to the side.
This Indian side is packed to the gills with attacking batsmen and world-class bowlers. They have arguably the best death bowler in the world, the two best batsmen in the world, and a mystery left-arm spinner in the side.
They have come to win, make no doubt about that.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Kohli, Lokesh Rahul, RR Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, JJ Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The first match is being played at the Gabba in Brisbane. The pitch always has some pace and bounce in it but offers help to the leg-spinners as well. Batsmen can get good value for their shots if they get in. Someone like Chris Lynn who has made the Gabba his own personal batting haven in the Big Bash could be a good player to back.
We think a score of around 180-190 will be needed by the side batting first to have a real shot of winning.
India arrives to this series in form but with no previous matches to help them acclimatize to the conditions. Australia has been in poor form but has players of proven quality that are playing in their home grounds.
India starts this match as favorites but we advise backing the home team in this match.
Back Australia to win.
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