India vs Australia 2020: 5 players to watch out for in the T20I series

Indian team celebrates after winning the third ODI in Canberra.

Jasprit Bumrah is expected to be a key player for Team India.

Steve Smith celebrates after scoring a century.

Hardik Pandya was the top performer for India in the ODI series.

Glenn Maxwell will look to create an impact in the upcoming T20 series against India.

KLRahul in action for India in the ODI series.

Two of the fiercest rivals in world cricket, India and Australia, will lock horns in a three-match T20 series starting Friday at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

While the home team dominated the ODI leg of the tour, the visitors come into the T20 series with the upper hand, as they had plenty of exposure in the shortest format of the game – the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).

With plenty of match-winners in both sides, let us take a look at the top five players to watch out for in this much-anticipated series. 

One of the best bowlers in the modern era, Jasprit Bumrah has shouldered the bulk of the Indian team’s bowling responsibility in the recent past.

Despite not being at his absolute best in the ODI leg of the tour, the 26-year-old has been in sublime form in the shortest format of the game.

In the absence of Lasith Malinga, Bumrah was the leader of the attack for champions Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020. The right-arm pacer picked up 27 wickets in 15 games at an impressive economy rate of under seven runs per over.

Second only to Kagiso Rabada in IPL 2020’s wicket-taking list, Bumrah will be one of the key players to watch out for in the T20 series against Australia.

Steve Smith arrived in the marquee series after enduring a quiet season with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

The right-handed batsman managed to score 311 runs in 14 league games at an average of 25.91 in the tournament. While Smith clearly did not have a great run in the IPL, it did not deter him when he stepped onto the field for Australia.

In the recently concluded ODI series, the 31-year-old scored match-winning hundreds in the first two games to help his side take an unaccessible 2-0 lead in the series.

With 216 runs in the three games, Smith was adjudged the Player of the Series and could be a key player for Australia in the upcoming T20 series against India too.

Hardik Pandya, one of the most powerful strikers of the ball, has been a revelation for India in international cricket. Pandya stormed into the limelight with his exploits for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

The 27-year-old made a stupendous comeback to the Indian side after recovering from back surgery, playing a pivotal role for the visitors with the bat.

The all-rounder scored 210 runs in the three-match ODI series, including a match-winning unbeaten knock of 92 in the third ODI, which India won by 13 runs.

Pandya’s sublime form in the lead-up to the T20 series, combined with his hard-hitting abilities in the shortest format of the game, makes him one of the key players to watch out for in the upcoming T20 series.

Like his compatriot Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell also had a very quiet IPL by his standards. Plying his trade for Kings XI Punjab, the batsman managed only 108 runs in 13 games at an average of just over 15.

However, the ODI series against India proved to be the perfect platform for Maxwell to find some form and get back to his absolute best. The right-handed batsman was one of the top performers for the home team, scoring two crucial half-centuries in the three-match series.

With 167 runs at a strike rate of over 200, Maxwell could well and truly be the player to watch out for in the upcoming T20 series against India.

The highest run-scorer in this edition of the IPL, KL Rahul has been in tremendous form throughout this season. With 670 runs in 14 games in the IPL, Rahul single-handedly shouldered the bulk of the responsibility for Kings XI Punjab in the batting department.

In the upcoming T20 series against Australia, the 28-year-old will open the batting along with Shikhar Dhawan and look to continue his fine form.

With the right-handed batsman recording a half-century in the second match of the ODI series, the Indian team will look up to Rahul to set up a strong foundation with the bat.

The wicketkeeper-batsman also played a key role in India’s 5-0 series whitewash against New Zealand recently.

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