India vs Australia T20I Series: Important Battles to Watch Out For
India are all set to begin their tour down under, with the 3 match T20I series starting on 21 November at Brisbane. India are yet to win their first ever test series in Australia, but as far as T20s are concerned, the last time India played Australia in Australia, Dhoni's men became the first touring team to whitewash Australia in any format in their own backyard.
A lot has changed since the last time India toured Australia. MS Dhoni is no more the captain of the men in blue, also he is not in the T20 squad for the tour. The spin department has changed drastically, from Ashwin and Jadeja to Kuldeep and Chahal. The middle order too has changed a lot with the likes of Rishabh Pant coming in.
For Australia, the ball-tampering saga has made the team look really short of experience. The likes of Finch and Maxwell are still vital cogs, but the absence of Smith and Warner gives the side a new look.
Here we look at some of the important battles to watch out for in the upcoming T20I series:
Rohit Sharma vs Billy Stanlake
Rohit has been India's best bet in T20s in 2018, with 560 runs to his name this calendar year. For India to win the series, Rohit's contribution will be of utmost importance. As has been the pattern in his batting, once he gets set, Rohit wreaks havoc on oppositions and the Australians know it.
Therefore Australia would want to dismiss him inside the powerplays before he gets set and the best man to do it for them is Billy Stanlake, who with his raw pace and bounce might trouble Rohit at the start of his innings. Hence it will be really fascinating to see if Rohit plays out Billy safely or Billy draws the first blood.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar vs Aron Finch
The Aussie captain is the most experienced man in the side and will have the responsibility of leading by example in the absence of their regular skipper Steven Smith and key batsman David Warner. And if Finch gets going, he more often than not wins the game single-handedly.
India would love to see the back of Finch as early as possible before he does any kind of damage. Bhuvi with his swing will be the one tasked with the responsibility of getting Finch early. The initial battle between the two will be one of the spectacles of the T20 series.
Kuldeep Yadav vs Glen Maxwell
The Australian middle order will be largely dependent on Maxwell, who has the experience of playing against most Indian bowlers. That Maxwell can turn a game on its head is not hidden from the opposition teams, but Maxwell's vulnerability against quality spin might be exposed in the upcoming series.
Kuldeep has been one of the most prominent wicket-takers for India in the middle overs this year and might continue to do so in the upcoming series. Whether Australia demolish India in the middle and death or India get through the Aussie middle order will depend largely on the Maxwell-Kuldeep contest.