Australia will meet India in the first of two World Cup warm-up matches for the two teams at the Brisbane Cricket Ground on Monday, October 17th. The match is scheduled to begin at 2 pm local time.
The two sides resume hostilities less than three weeks since playing a T20I series on Indian soil, which the home match won by two matches to one. Conditions will be very different this time, but, although this is just a dress rehearsal for the real thing, results still matter. And India, for one, still have some selection issues to resolve, including who will be the replacement for the injured Jasprit Bumrah in the team.
There is also the issue that, although the two teams have not been drawn against each other in the group stage of the Super 12s, they are both among the favourites to win the trophy in a month’s time, and could well meet in the knock-out rounds, or, conceivably, the final itself. This is a chance for one team to lay down an early psychological marker.
Mixed fortunes for India since
Following that series win over Australia, India also hosted South Africa and also won that series by the odd match in three.
The team then flew to Australia, where they have spent the time acclimatising and training. As part of their preparations they have also played two practice matches against a Western Australia side.
They won the first match by 13 runs, with Suryakumar Yadav marking his playing debut on Australian soil by making 52, carrying on his recent rich vein of form.
However, in the second match they suffered a 36 run reverse, despite 74 from KL Rahul, the rest of his batting colleagues struggling to match the home side’s 168.
In mitigation, captain Rohit Sharma was rested for that game, and Virat Kohli has yet to appear for the side in Australia, but there will be concerns about some of the vulnerabilities shown.
In particular, their bowlers were again expensive in the death overs, and without the injured Bumrah, who can provide the control when it is most needed.
Australia have their own concerns
Since returning from India, Australia have played a two match T20I series against the West Indies, winning the first game convincingly, and then edging home in the second.
They then hosted England, but that three match series did not go according to plan. The English won the first two games by 8 runs and were on top in the third in Canberra before that had to be abandoned because of rain.
Head to head record
The pair have played each other 36 times before in T20I cricket, and the current record reads 15 wins to India to ten for the Australians, with one match failing to produce a result.
In terms of results on Australian soil India have the edge there as well, having won seven of the previous 11 matches between the two countries.
The Brisbane pitch is flat and usually is of assistance to the batters, with an average score on the ground in excess of 160.
The weather on the day is expected to be cloudy and there is a chance of showers, some of them perhaps heavy. It is entirely possible that there could be some interruptions due to the weather.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-25 degrees Celsius.
Indian team selection
Although India have yet to name a definite replacement for Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami have all now joined the party as potential cover.
Although they have only been in the country a few days, this might be the opportunity to blood one or two of them in this match so they can stake a claim. Kohli has not played yet but he is sure to feature in this match and Rohit Sharma should also return to captain the team.
Fast bowling holds the key
The key to this match would appear to hinge which fast bowling attack fares better. With Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in their side, Australia have potential match winners, but if India can blunt their threat, then they will give themselves every chance.
However, the Indian pacers also need to rise to the challenge, and prove they can perform when the pressure is on at the end of an innings.
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