After Australia drew first blood in Brisbane, it’s India’s time in a must-win contest.
All the pre-tour talk about India being clear favourites Down under took a bit of a hit on Wednesday evening as an under fire Australian side came to the party in front of a 31,183 strong crowd at the Gabba.
Team India will be looking to turn the tables on Aaron Finch’s side as the two sides square off in the second T-20 in Melbourne on Friday.
Although it was a close contest between the two teams, India were found wanting at crucial moments, and skipper Virat Kohli’s bowling tactics and team combination were criticised by fans and pundits alike.
The Men in Blue appeared rusty and sloppy in the field and dropped catches at crucial junctures (including one from Kohli himself) which proved to be costly in the end as the visitors had to chase a revised total under the DLS system.
The other debatable point of discussion will be the No 3 position. Kohli surprisingly demoted himself to No 4, the decision which didn’t quite come off, as KL Rahul looked a pale shadow of his previous self in the middle.
Krunal Pandya was taken to the cleaners in his 4 over spell, going for 55, and India may contemplate bringing back Yuzvendra Chahal. That would weaken their batting though- another headache for Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.
Like Krunal, Khaleel Ahmed did not have a good outing with the ball. He was also poor in the field, and would be looking for a much improved performance.
Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah were India’s best bowlers at the Gabba.
Possible Playing XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal/Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed
The home side after a disappointing series against South Africa where they lost both the ODI’s and the T20’s, desperately needed a win, and their batsmen delivered.
Barring D’Arcy Short, all the other batsmen had decent hit outs in the middle. Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Chris Lynn were in particular severe on the Indian bowlers.
Adam Zampa bowled superbly by keeping a lid on the scoring and also claimed 2 wickets, including the key one of Kohli.
Marcus Stoinis did the job at the death for Australia, but they could consider bringing back Nathan Coulter-Nile at the MCG.
Likely playing XI: Aaron Finch (C), D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ben McDermott, Alex Carey (w), Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, 2 of Jason Behrendorff/Billy Stanlake/ Nathan Coulter-Nile
This post has been contributed by Shashi Kumar, editing done by The Cricket Blog.