Melbourne:November 22: After narrowly losing the tour opener by four runs, India are desperate to keep themselves alive by winning the second Twenty20 international of the three-match rubber at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here on Friday.
In the rain-hit first T20I, the visitors failed to cross the line while chasing a revised target set on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The Virat Kohli-led side has already emerged victorious in seven consecutive bilateral T20 series in a row and will surely leave no stone unturned to make it eight.
Kohli would have definitely missed the services of leggie Yuzvendra Chahal as the hosts struggled against chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who scalped two Australian wickets conceding 24 runs in the previous affair at the Gabba in Brisbane.
To keep them alive in the rubber, the Indian playing XI could possibly witness a few changes as the skipper would be desperate to bring back Chahal, while Krunal Pandya could be axed after being clobbered for 55 runs in the first T20I.
Also, Lokesh Rahul, who has been in patchy form after failing to cross the 30-run mark in the last six occasions, is likely to miss Friday’s game and the team management would like to test Manish Pandey in his absence.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who played a classy knock of 76 off 42 deliveries in the last game, showed the kind of havoc he could create and it is expected of him to blast again.
Unlike Dhawan, his partner Rohit Sharma failed to fire, but the opener is an experienced campaigner and it is a matter of just a few deliveries for him to click.
Meanwhile, the ploy of promoting Rahul to the No.3 slot didn’t work and the team management could restore the skipper to his usual batting position.
The middle order looks settled with stumper Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in good nick. The duo came all guns blazing in the previous game and their knocks had brought back the visitors back in the hunt, while chasing a challenging total.
However, Pant’s inexperience was clearly visible in Brisbane as the Delhi stumper played an unwanted and completely immature shot to throw his wicket.
Coming to India’s bowling, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was accurate with the leather after conceding just 15 runs from his three overs. Jasprit Bumrah also bowled well after figures of 1/21 from three overs.
On the other hand, Australia would once again expect fireworks from Glenn Maxwell and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. The all-rounder first played a 19-ball unbeaten 33 before setting up the win for the home side by picking two wickets for 27 runs.
Also, Adam Zampa proved beneficial for the host with figures of 2/22 and the Australian team management will once again hope their side to replicate the Brisbane show here.
India – Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (Wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Washington Sundar.
Australia: Aaron Finch (Captain), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (Wicket-keeper), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa. (IANS)