The Test series between these sides might be more talked about, but given that the T20 World Cup is set to be held next year, the T20I series, sandwiched between the Tests and ODIs might be more important than what is made out to be. Here we look at five players key to their respective teams for this series.
The off-spinner from Royal Challengers Bangalore was a revelation in the powerplay phase with his restrictive bowling. While Sundar isn’t quite a wicket-taker, he is more than useful in cutting down the run flow with his stump-to-stump bowling in the first six overs and also in the middle overs phase. If India can get a couple of overs from Sundar against Warner and Finch in the powerplay, it will free Bumrah and Shami up to bowl in the death.
Mayank Agarwal had a stunning IPL, taking the attack to the bowlers in the powerplay overs and setting the tempo for Kings XI Punjab. His selection in the T20I squad is likely because he fulfills a role that most Indian openers have hesitated to do – attack in the powerplay at the risk of losing one’s wicket. If Mayank can replicate his IPL heroics in the Indian team, he will be tough to displace.
Marcus Stoinis had a niche role in the Big Bash League where he opened the innings and cashed in on the powerplay overs. While that worked in his favor in T20s, at Delhi Capitals he was primarily used as a finisher where his Power hitting came to the fore. It worked well for Stoinis and it’s a role he has unsuccessfully donned in the past for Australia. But with the help of Ricky Ponting, Stoinis might just have turned a corner and Australia will wonder if continuing to use him in the late order role will yield different results.
While he was never part of the IPL this season, there was a lot of talk about Starc as one of T20 cricket’s ideal bowlers. A powerplay nightmare and a death overs specialist, Starc is a rare breed in T20 cricket. He has signed up to play the Big Bash League too this time around and will be keen to make a mark against one of the top T20I sides.
A late addition to the T20I squad for the injured Varun Chakravarthy, Natarajan brings with him an experience of bowling with the tennis ball which generates a lot of bounce. This could work well in Australia where the Kookaburra gets a lot of bounce and carry through to the keeper. Impressive with his yorkers in the death in Australia, Natarajan will be keen to carry forward his good IPL form into the Indian side.
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