Australia v India
Tuesday January 26, 7:38pm EST
With this year’s ICC World Twenty20 tournament little over a month away the Australia v India T20I series, which starts on Tuesday in Adelaide, shapes as important preparation for both sides.
After a dominant 4-1 series win in the ODIs the Aussies come into the T20 series with a burgeoning squad of 17, led by captain Aaron Finch. There could be debuts for Travis Head and Andrew Tye who both excelled in the Big Bash, while at the other end of the scale speedster Shaun Tait will be hoping to play his first international match in five years after some encouraging spells for the Hobart Hurricanes. BBL Player of the Tournament Chris Lynn will look to secure a middle-order spot and should get an immediate chance in Adelaide with Glenn Maxwell ruled out of the series opener with a hamstring complaint.
Maxwell’s absence should provide an opportunity for fellow all-rounder Shane Watson who will be hoping to compete in his fourth World T20 competition. While the top-order of Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith looks very settled, the competition for spots in the hosts’ bowling attack is very open with the likes of Tait and Tye vying with members of the ODI attack such as Kane Richardson, John Hastings and Scott Boland. This is Australia’s first T20I since August when they were edged by England in Cardiff by five runs.
The majority of India’s T20 squad will come from the recent one-day series, however they have added a handful of veterans in Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra who will all be well-known to Australian viewers. After being left out of the ODI squad, Suresh Raina also returns while young all-rounder Hardik Pandya could make his debut after encouraging performances at domestic level. Injury has forced some further changes to India’s squad with Rishi Dhawan replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, while Gurkeerat Singh has been placed on standby for Ajinkya Rahane who suffered a hand injury in the fourth ODI in Canberra last Wednesday.
The nucleus of India’s side will come from renowned superstars MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravi Jadeja, however they will be hoping that unheralded seamer Jasprit Bumrah can provide some shock value after his unusual action caught Australia’s batsmen off-guard in the final ODI on Saturday. Like their opponents, India haven’t played a lot of T20 Internationals of late, most recently enduring a 2-0 series loss at home to South Africa which means that they have now lost five of their past six T20Is.
The Adelaide Oval has hosted two T20I matches – both won by the chasing side after Australia posted middling totals of 4/157 and 6/144 against England and South Africa respectively. However scores from the recent Big Bash suggest that this match could be higher-scoring with BBL games producing an average first innings score of 6/168, although the side batting second still managed to win three games out of five.
After a commanding performance in the ODI series, Australia are favourites with India underdogs at around 2.76 in early markets. Much like the one-dayers, both sides shape up with a significantly stronger batting unit than bowling attack so the visitors’ price looks good value on the proviso that they bat first.
India’s top-order of Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli are all in sparkling form and are familiar with the majority of this Australian attack from the ODI series. Moreover the inclusion of the experienced Raina and Yuvraj should help with the visitors’ ability to accelerate in the final overs which was where they were found wanting at times in the one-dayers. On a pitch that has produced plenty of high scores in recent times it would be a surprise to see India make a below-par total against a bowling attack missing the likes of Starc, Cummins and Coulter-Nile, and therefore I’d expect their price to contract if they bat first.
Given the strong record of the side batting second at Adelaide and the fact that Australia comfortably chased down sizeable targets in the ODI series, I’d want to lay off and avoid opposing the strong Australian top six against India’s unconvincing collection of bowlers. Furthermore, the India’s poor recent record in this format and the fact that they failed to get over the line from a number of winning positions in the one-day series is further evidence that we should be locking in some profit, rather than riding our initial position through all the way to the finish.
If India Bat First, Back-to-Lay the visitors around $2.70 for 1 unit & trade out at $2.00 or better.