Virat Kohli's Team India take on Australia in the first of the three-match T20I series at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Saturday, October 7.

After crushing the visitors 4-1 in the recently concluded ODI series, the "Men in Blue" will be looking to extend their domination in the shortest format as well. History favours Kohli's men as Australia have managed to win only four of their 13 meetings in the past.

The hosts also received a huge boost when they learned on Saturday morning that Australian skipper Steve Smith will not take part in the T20I series due to a shoulder injury.

Also read: Team news, probable XI and pitch conditions

Smith's injury blessing in disguise?

Despite not being in rich form, Smith's presence in the line-up has proved to be a big boost to the team, especially its middle order. In the 28-year-old's absence, David Warner will lead the visitors during the three-match rubber.

While Smith's injury is definitely a huge setback for the "Men in Yellow", a change in captaincy could prove to be a blessing in disguise as Warner has proved his leadership skills during his title-winning run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain in 2016.

Warner also seemed to relish the burden of captaincy as he piled up 848 runs at 60.57 for the Hyderabad-based franchise.

David Warner
File photo of David WarnerMorne de Klerk/Getty Images

It will be interesting to see how the left-handed opener goes about his business at the top of the order as his contribution will be key to the visitors' chances.

Australia will now have the luxury of fielding two all-rounders in Moises Henriques and Dan Christian, both of whom have good exposure to Indian conditions. Glenn Maxwell, who showed glimpses of brilliance during the ODI rubber, will now bat higher up the order.

Kohli eyes another milestone

On the other hand, Kohli just needs 60 runs to go past Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan's tally of 1,889 runs and become the second highest run-scorer in T20Is. Given his recent form against Australia (four consecutive 50s in T20Is), the Indian captain is in line to break the Sri Lankan great's record as early as on Saturday.

Virat Kohli, India vs Sri Lanka, T20
File photo of Virat KohliReuters

A lot of focus will also be on Shikhar Dhawan, who is returning after missing the ODIs. The left-handed opener's combination with in-form Rohit Sharma will be assessed as KL Rahul is warming the benches, waiting for his chance at the top.

The inclusion of veteran pacer Ashish Nehra came as a surprise. However, it will unlikely Kohli will want to break the in-form new-ball combination of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to make way for the 38-year-old.

When does the match start and how to watch it live

The first T20I between India and Australia will start at 7pm local, 1:30pm GMT in Ranchi.

Live streaming and TV coverage

India: TV: Star Sports. Live Streaming: Hotstar.

Australia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Foxtel.

UK: TV: Sky Sports Cricket. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports.

USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.


Australia: David Warner (captain), Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (wicketkeeper), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Daniel Christian, Jason Behrendorff

India: Virat Kohli (captain) , Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, , Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Ashish Nehra.

Second T20I on October 10 (Tuesday) in Guwahati