India vs Australia T20I: Challenge for Virat Kohli, opportunity for David Warner | india-vs-australia-2017 | Hindustan Times
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India vs Australia T20I: Challenge for Virat Kohli, opportunity for David Warner

While Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team will look to continue their dominance, David Warner would want the Australian cricket team to end the tour on a high.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Oct 12, 2017 18:50 IST
Abhishek Paul
The Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team will take on Australia in the third and final T20I in Hyderabad on Friday.
The Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team will take on Australia in the third and final T20I in Hyderabad on Friday.(AFP)

All of a sudden, a challenge confronts Virat Kohli’s desperate India while an opportunity beckons Australia. The winner takes all in the T20I series decider in Hyderabad on Friday.

For the David Warner-led visitors, it’s a golden opportunity to win their maiden T20I series in India after having little to cheer about in the past two months in the sub-continent.

For Kohli, the challenge is to keep his series-winning streak intact at home since taking over captaincy from MS Dhoni.

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Batsmen’s woes

Everything seemed to be going well for the Indian batsmen in this series until Jason Behrendorff’s devastating spell happened in second T20I in Guwahati. The angle that the left-arm pacer generated caught the Indian top-order off-guard.

After successfully tackling right-arm pacers like Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson in the ODIs, the Indian batsmen found the pace and swing of the tall Behrendorff too hot to handle.

Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey became his victims as the 27-year-old, playing his debut series, returned with best figures by an Australian bowler in T20Is in India.

READ | India couldn’t recover after losing Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

The onus was on the middle-order but MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya got out after promising starts. The result was that India were dismissed for a sub-par score of 118.

The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad will play host to the third and final T20I between India and Australia. (HT Photo)

With the series on the line, India need to buck up in some areas and the team management may well have realised that. In the five T20Is India played in 2017 before this series, they won three games with at least one among the top three scoring a half-century.

Fifth bowler

While Bhuvneshwar Kumar was impressive upfront, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal went for a few runs. But they all have been consistent in the limited-overs format in recent times and Tuesday’s performance was one-off.

However, a major question is the fifth bowler. India have tried Pandya and Kedar Jadhav of late.

Though Pandya was economical in the second T20I, he had leaked runs in previous matches. For someone who is being compared to Kapil Dev, a good performance in the decider will only bolster a strong start. He and Jadhav would be the key if the strike bowlers fail.

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Nehra unlikely

It would also be interesting to see if Ashish Nehra, who confirmed on Friday that he will retire after the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, will get a chance. It is unlikely he will be picked as in-form Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah have been bowling well.

Whether Nehra plays or not, the Indian bowlers will have to be extra cautious against the Australian middle-order that includes Henriques, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell.

READ | Virat Kohli rues batting failure in India’s eight-wicket loss to Australia

Rain threat

Like in the previous two matches, there is prediction of rain on Friday. Hyderabad had been receiving incessant showers over the past one week and the groundsmen could be seen working hard to make the field ready for Friday.

There were patches on the field which looked damp and even fans were used to dry it. However, with the sun shining bright on the ground on Thursday, the situation is expected to be sorted out in time for the evening match.