After a thumping win over Australia in the ODI series, India will look to continue their dominance in the three-match T20 series. The first match is set to take place at JSCA Stadium in Ranchi on Saturday.
India might come into the series with their tails up, but Steve Smith led-side Australia will have a thing or two in the shortest format of the game. With both teams eager to start the series on a bright note, with an impressive win in Ranchi, India and Australia will have to pick their best combination, capable of outshining their opponents.
India will welcome the return of their prolific opener, Shikhar Dhawan, who will open the innings alongside in-form Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli does not have to sweat when it comes to picking his batting line-up, which will also include the likes of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. The former will be keen to score big in his hometown.
However, it is in the bowling department, where Kohli and the thinktank might have some selection headaches, especially after the surprise inclusion of 38-year-old Ashish Nehra. It would be embarrassing if the left arm-pacer is benched.
On all probability, Jasprit Bumrah and Nehra will share the new ball while Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal should feature as spinners. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be unfortunate to miss out in the bowling department.
The Australian squad looks relatively experienced for T20 matches, especially with most of the players having played in the IPL, which should come handy. Australia survived a scare after captain Steve Smith sustained a shoulder injury, and was rushed to the hospital for a scan. He was declared fit to play in the first match.
Andrew Tye and Moises Henriques, who have proved themselves in the IPL, should feature in the playing XI for Australia in Ranchi. However, they will be majorly depending on the services of top three players, Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith to score runs and help them win the first match on Saturday.
The pitch in Ranchi seems to have a history of favouring the spinners, where the ball could turn as well. It will be interesting to see the surface that will be prepared. With it being a T20 format, they could try and produce a wicket for a good score.
There are chances of rain playing spoilsport.
Expected playing XI
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith (c), Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Tim Paine (wk), Andre Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa.