Following the thrilling last over defeat in the first T20I, India will look to bounce back and level the series in the second T20I against Australia in Bengaluru on February 27.
India's long tail was exposed in the first T20I by Australia as they picked up regular wickets in the middle overs. India opted to play Krunal Pandya as a specialist all-rounder at number 7, which meant Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal had to bat at numbers 8 and 9, respectively. This resulted in a long tail and India could not post a competitive total on the board.
Virat Kohli might be tempted to address that issue by bringing Vijay Shankar in at number 7, pushing Krunal Pandya to 8 and sacrificing a bowler. It will be interesting to see which bowler faces the axe, in case the management does decide to opt for a stronger batting order.
Umesh Yadav had a forgettable outing but dropping someone after one match may be harsh. At the same time, Siddharth Kaul, a specialist death bowler is waiting in the wings and is seemingly ahead of Umesh in the World Cup's pecking order. If the management does decide to keep a second specialist pacer – either Umesh or replace him with Kaul – Mayank Markande might be sacrificed. The leg-spinner had a decent debut game wherein he bowled an excellent 18th over conceding just 5 runs and finishing with figures of 0-31 in his 4 overs.
Captain Kohli will hope that his middle order comprising the three wicketkeepers come good on a flat Bengaluru wicket. The fact that the pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium has been historically very good for batting might prompt Kohli to go unchanged in terms of the combination, if not personnel.
Australia, on the other hand, managed to get out of jail in the last ball thanks to their pace bowlers. Although India bowled well, the visitors made a meal of, what seemed like, an easy run-chase. They are expected to go in unchanged but it will be interesting to see what batting order they decide to play. On Sunday, skipper Aaron Finch did not open and Marcus Stoinis was promoted to his slot while designated ODI finisher Glenn Maxwell came in at number 4.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya, Siddharth Kaul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande
Australia: Aaron Finch (C), Alex Carrey (WK), Usman Khawaja, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium is one of the best batting wickets in the country. In fact, since IPL 2014, this venue has the second highest run rate (8.53) of all grounds in India. The ground is also pretty small which results in a large percentage of boundaries and the fielders are usually left leather hunting. Expect a difficult day for the bowlers and unlike in Visakhapatnam, this match will be anything but a low-scoring affair.
The weather in Bengaluru is expected to be cloudy with a 10 per cent chance of rain. But the ground has excellent drainage facility so the skies are not expected to play spoilsport. Temperatures will be in the mid 20 degree Celcius mark accompanied by a refreshing breeze.