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India will look to ride the momentum in the series decider


Pace bowling is a cause for concern for both teams while the Indian team-management may consider the inclusion of the seasoned off-spinner R. Ashwin in place of Chahal; Axar and Zampa have impressed

Pace bowling is a cause for concern for both teams while the Indian team-management may consider the inclusion of the seasoned off-spinner R. Ashwin in place of Chahal; Axar and Zampa have impressed

With the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team getting its act right in the truncated match to level the three-match T20I series against Australia at Nagpur on Friday night, the decider at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Sunday should be a thriller by all means.

There can be few better sights in modern cricket than Rohit showcasing his wide repertoire of strokes with such ease.

Good augury

Dinesh Karthik served a reminder that when it comes to finishing off a close contest very few from the Indian team can match him, pace ace Jasprit Bumrah came back to make an impact and left-arm spinner Axar Patel struck consistently to prove to be a wonderful replacement for the injured Ravindra Jadeja in the second match and this should boost India’s confidence when it takes on Aaron Finch’s Aussies here.

The openers — for both the teams — hold the key on what is expected to be a sporting wicket.

Aussies have captain Aaron Finch and Cameron Green at the top, followed by the dangerous strikers Glenn Maxwell, Tim David and the in-form Matthew Wade. Wade has been so brilliant even under pressure that the Indian bowlers seemed clueless to contain him.

The bowling department should be a matter of concern for Australia though leg-spinner Adam Zampa returned with an impressive three-wicket haul in the second game to give hopes of a win for his team. But, the way the pacers have been handled by the home batters can put some probing questions about their ability to bowl consistently good line and length on the Indian pitches.

On the other hand, the home team should be in a comfort zone, with Rohit and K.L. Rahul capable of toying with any bowling attack, followed by the likes of Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya who are all capable of chipping in with contributions which could make a telling impact on the outcome of the game.

In bowling, Axar Patel has been a delight to watch. That he brushed aside the pressure of coming in for Jadeja and stamped his own authority even in PowerPlay, is a welcome sign for the hosts.

Yuzvendra Chahal was disappointing with figures of 3.2-0-41-1 and 1-0-12-0 in the first two games and this should prompt the team-management to consider the seasoned off-spinner R. Ashwin, especially to counter the Wade threat.

Major issue

A major issue for the Indian team is that at least one pace bowler in each match leaked away runs in the final overs.

If it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Mohali (he disappointed twice in the recent Asia Cup also), Harshal Patel had a poor day at Nagpur. The brains-trust should be looking for an improved show in this area.

And, for the fans who braved rains and lathi charge to buy tickets for the game, it should be a treat if the weather gods are kind.

The teams (from):

India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), K.L. Rahul (Vice-capt.), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprirt Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.

Australia: Aaron Finch (Capt.), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade and Adam Zampa.

Match starts at 7 p.m.



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