India v Australia Third T20I
Saturday, October 14 – 12:30am AEDT
Looking to wrap-up the series, the home side got off to a horrendous start in the second T20I when they slumped to 4/27 in the fifth over after being sent in on a tricky pitch. However middle-order mainstay Kedar Jadhav begun the revival with a calculated run-a-ball 27, receiving crucial support from veteran ‘keeper MS Dhoni (13 off 16 balls) and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya (25 off 23 balls) as they dragged the total to 7-103 in the 18th over.
But there was to be no sparkling finish for India, with Kuldeep Yadav’s 16 off 19 balls just enough to see them reach 118 at the conclusion of their 20 overs. Despite only having a meagre target to defend, the hosts started brilliantly in the field, removing both Australian openers to have the visitors reeling at 2/13 after three overs, courtesy of two catches to captain Virat Kohli. But that’s where the highlights finished for Kohli’s side as Australia managed to mow down the target without losing another wicket and with 27 balls remaining.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s early probing saw him retain the excellent figures of 1/9 off three overs, however less glamorous was the return of Kuldeep who, despite troubling the Aussies regularly throughout the tour, was taken for 46 off his four overs. After going in unchanged in Guwahati, India may consider bringing spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel into the starting XI.
At the end of a tough tour Australia still have plenty to play for, thanks to their convincing eight-wicket win on Tuesday. In just his second match, left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff set the tone early, removing both Rohit Sharma and Kohli in the first over, before claiming the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey to finish with 4/21 off his four overs and man of the match honours.
After a difficult tour, leg-spinner Adam Zampa also starred in the field, putting the brakes on India’s mid-innings resurgence in his spell of 2/19 off four overs. The only Australian bowler to concede more than a run-a-ball was Andrew Tye (1/30 off four overs), however the crafty seamer did bowl an outstanding final over in which he conceded only four runs. The visitors were understandably nervous when Aaron Finch and captain David Warner both failed to make it to double-figures, however they couldn’t have predicted such a convincing and ultimately match-winning partnership between Moises Henriques and Travis Head.
After passing 20 only once in his last 17 innings at international level across all formats, Henriques had plenty to prove but he certainly made the most of an elevation to first drop, smacking 62 off 46 balls with four fours and four sixes. Head also played a superb knock to finish unbeaten on 48 off just 34 deliveries, cementing his place in the top order.
Rajiv Ghandi International Stadium
The Rajiv Ghandi International Stadium in Hyderabad has never actually hosted a T20I, however in this year’s IPL it displayed plenty of volatility with only two of eight first innings scores between 140 and 190. Notably the side batting first won six of eight games, while Australian skipper David Warner excelled at his franchise’s home ground, averaging 67.20 at a strike rate of 156.28.
- India have won three out of their last four T20I series’.
- India have scored 180 or more in seven of their past 15 T20Is when batting first.
- Australia have won only two of their past five T20Is series’.
- However Australia have scored 180 or more in eight of their past 15 T20Is when batting first.
- Five out of eight IPL matches at the Rajiv Ghandi International Stadium had more than nine total sixes.
Despite the overwhelming defeat India have retained favouritism, with punters still not convinced that Australia can steal the series.
India were brought crashing back down to earth in Guwahati, with their powerful batting line-up failing to grasp the tough conditions and adapt to the situation. If their performance with the bat was tinged with naivety and arrogance, there were no excuses for their efforts in the field, with their slower bowlers unable to capitalise on the breakthroughs made by their new-ball bowlers. However one poor performance does not suddenly mean that India should be underdogs, although I can’t be convinced to back them here.
Similarly Australia shouldn’t get too carried away with the win, especially when you consider they had the better of the conditions to work with, however it will give them much-needed confidence going into the final match of the tour. Their bowling attack finally put it all together, however the most pleasing aspect for the Aussies will be that two of their less-established batsmen stepped up and showed they could dominate India’s formidable bowling unit. Nevertheless the visitors’ price is not anywhere near attractive enough to explore so we’ll leave the match odds parked to one side.
Instead I’ll be looking to exploit the likely difference in conditions between this match and the first two of the series, which were played on difficult tracks. Hyderabad too, can prove uncomfortable for the batsmen, but in general it provides much less assistance for the bowlers as illustrated by multiple scores of 190+ in the IPL. In that tournament, matches at the ground averaged 10.7 sixes with five out of eight seeing more than nine maximums struck. In the right conditions, both sides have illustrated they can clear the boundary with explosive hitters such as Kohli, Warner, Pandya, Dhoni, Finch and Maxwell all looking to finish the series with a bang, which is why I’ll be contending that more than nine sixes are breached.