Currently on a high on confidence after winning the first Twenty20 , Team India will look to press home the advantage and seal off the three-match series when they take on Australia in the second T20 in Melbourne . The ‘Men in Blue’ would want to close the series out early, so that they get a chance to experiment in the last match in Sydney. Winning the last ODI in Sydney provided some relief , and then the win in the previous match in Adelaide has given their last week on tour some impetus.
Hitting the right balance for the playing eleven has been the concern for the Indian team. They tried doing so earlier in the series, bringing in Gurkeerat Mann and Rishi Dhawan, and leaving out the additional spinner.
Two spinners in the team hadn’t provided captain M.S. Dhoni the control he needed in the middle overs, and though that change in selection didn’t bring about the desired results, the youngsters impressed enough to stay on for the T20Is.
Perhaps it provided the basis for the management to understand where their strength lies, and thus, when Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina joined the ranks for T20Is, there was no hesitancy in picking them for the Adelaide game straightaway.
Picking the duo allowed Dhoni the freedom to choose his bowling attack as per both experience and requirements, devoid of the baggage of the ODI series.
Ravichandran Ashwin duly returned to the side, and along with Ravindra Jadeja, gave a precursor of things to come in the sub-continent in the next two months.
And with Jasprit Bumrah impressing on debut, it gave the management further confidence to draft in Hardik Pandya as well, banking on extra overs that Yuvraj-Raina could bowl if need be.
With their bowling problems looking sorted at the moment, the batting order picks itself, given that Ajinkya Rahane is not yet back to full fitness. The skipper had happily accepted a problem of plenty post the Adelaide win, but failed to specify just how he intended to sort this one. Given that he is expected to go in with the same eleven, the onus thus lies on Yuvraj and Raina to make sure he doesn’t need to.
Raina looked rusty in his 34-ball 41-run knock at the Adelaide Oval, and it was only Virat Kohli’s efforts that didn’t allow pressure to shift back to the Indian batting in the last 10 overs. Raina did well enough to play a supporting role, but more is expected of the current Indian middle order.
Dhoni usually follows a left-right combination in his batting line-up during T20Is, and if Raina got a chance in the previous game, he could entertain thoughts of sending Yuvraj ahead this time around, if the match situation allows.
Meanwhile, Aaron Finch led Australia are under pressure, perhaps for the first time this summer. They have engaged with New Zealand and West Indies prior to this series, in different formats, but won against them without breaking any sweat. Down 0-1 , Australia will certainly be boosted by the availability of Glenn Maxwell. And skipper Finch is having a problem deciding the right combination . Ahead of the World T20, he would like the side to be a settled one.