The Indian cricket team reached a below-par total of 161 for 7 at the end of 20 overs in the first T20I of the 3-match series at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday. Nobody apart from KL Rahul (51 off 40) and Ravindra Jadeja (44* off 23) got going for India.
Australia thus go into the run chase with a modest target to overhaul. They would also be aware of the fact that the Indian cricket team has not won a single T20I against them batting first since 2016. Overall, they have batted first in T20Is against the Aussies on 9 occasions and have won just 4 of them, thus having a win percentage of 44.45.
However, the Virat Kohli-led side’s record Down Under is slightly better as they have won 2 of the 3 matches batting first till now. Both the victories were resounding ones, and came during the 2016-17 season.
Notably, Virat Kohli remained not out in both the games (90* & 59*) as the Indian cricket team posted 188 for 3 and 184 for 3 in the first two T20Is of the 3-match series. India won at the Adelaide Oval and the Melbourne Cricket Ground by 37 runs and 27 runs respectively, before eventually capping off a memorable series whitewash in Sydney by 7 wickets.
Even more shockingly, the Indian cricket team has lost all 3 home T20Is against Australia batting first. Two of those matches took place during the Aaron Finch-led side’s visit to the subcontinent in 2019 where India were whitewashed 0-2.
Australia have left Marnus Labuschagne out of the playing XI from the third and final ODI against India. They have included the firepower of opener D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade, who will bat at No. 3.
The Indian cricket team has its task cut out, and the pace bowling duo of Mohammad Shami and Deepak Chahar have to account for wickets in the powerplay. However, the side which India fielded is looking more balanced with the addition of three all-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar.
The Indian cricket team can fashion a victory in the opening T20I only if it gets early wickets to put the hosts on the back foot.