India take on Australia Down Under in a three-match T20I series, with the first game set to take place on December 4 at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. The next two matches will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on December 6 and December 8. The T20I series follows the three-match ODI series, where the hosts emerged victorious 2-1. Australia were defeated in their previous T20I series against England in September, while India’s last outing in the same format saw them register a series whitewash in New Zealand.
Here are some players who are capable of emerging as game-changers during the series:
Virat Kohli: The Team India skipper is the leading run-scorer in men’s T20Is, having accumulated 2794 runs in 82 matches at an average of 50.80 and strike rate of 138.24. Kohli is further the leading run-getter in T20Is between India and Australia. The cricketer has scored 584 runs in 16 games against the hosts, at an average of 64.88.
Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder approaches the shortest format in international cricket, having finished as India’s leading run-scorer in the ODI series. Team India will be optimistic of Hardik maintaining this form in the T20I series, having previously impressed in IPL 2020 as well.
KL Rahul: KL Rahul is expected to open the innings in the T20I matches, having been sent in down the order during the ODI games. Rahul finished IPL 2020 as the top run-scorer after featuring as an opener for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). The wicketkeeper-batsman will play a key role in helping India bounce back, following a defeat in the ODI series.
Jasprit Bumrah: The pace spearhead can be a match-winner on his day, with his variations quite difficult to pick. Bumrah is further a consistent wicket-taker in the T20I format, accounting for 59 wickets in 50 matches at a strike rate of 18.2.
Aaron Finch: The batsman has scored 2114 runs in 64 matches at a strike rate of 154.64 and average of 38.43 in the T20I format. Finch’s tally comprises of two centuries and 12 half-centuries. The Australia skipper was the highest run-scorer in the ODI series, scoring 249 runs at an average of 83.
Steve Smith: The 31-year-old has accumulated 712 runs in 42 T20I games at a strike rate of 131.12. Smith has been quite attacking in his approach during India’s ongoing tour, having drawn criticism for being conservative with his gameplay in the past. The hosts might look to promote the batsman to the opener’s slot in the absence of David Warner, with the 31-year-old recently opening the innings in a few IPL 2020 matches.
Glenn Maxwell: Glenn Maxwell has smashed boundaries and sixes mercilessly during India’s ongoing tour. The all-rounder had earlier failed to hit a single six during the recently concluded IPL 2020. Maxwell, however, looks full of confidence in Australia, and will certainly pose a threat to Team India in the shortest format where he enjoys a strike rate of 158.36.
Mitchell Starc: The left-arm pacer can be unplayable on his day, with the bounce generated from his 1.96m height and accurate inswingers. Starc has picked 45 wickets in 34 T20I matches, at a strike rate of 16.9.
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