Table of Contents
Big picture – will India experiment?
It has rained runs all through the first three T20Is. Batters have turned bowlers into bowling machines instead and with 123 fours and 65 sixes hit already, expect more of the same as the teams face off in Raipur in the fourth T20I.
For India’s bowlers, it will be an opportunity to pick themselves up after the Maxwell mauling. Ravi Bishnoi and Axar Patel have produced strong opening spells but dew has negated their effectiveness in the back end. The seamers, especially Arshdeep Singh and Prasidh Krishna, have missed their lengths regularly and gone for plenty. Deepak Chahar, recently drafted in, and Mukesh Kumar, back from his wedding, could cover some of India’s gaps in the powerplay and at the death. They may also be tempted to play a proper sixth bowler after stand-in captain Suryakumar Yadav struggled with only five choices in the last outing.
India LWWWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
In the spotlight – Jason Behrendorff and Prasidh Krishna
Jason Behrendorff‘s height has always made him an X-factor, and combined with his new-ball control, he has stood out in a series that’s been a graveyard for fast bowlers. He’s cramped India’s left-hand batters and teased the right-hand batters with deliveries that go across. The odd swinging ball into the right-hand batters have also kept them circumspect, and a result of that was his 17 dots in a spell of 1 for 12 in Guwahati. In the first T20I, too, he conceded only 25, and for Australia to level the series, his four overs will be crucial.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Prasidh Krishna, who as recently as the World Cup was considered the next-best fast-bowling option after India’s first-choice seam-bowling trio. In the first three games, he’s been the seniormost fast bowler in the XI, but after an economy of more than 13 in the T20I series, he’ll have to dig deep into his reserves to find a way to overcome the rampaging batters.
Team news – Will Shreyas Iyer and Chris Green come in?
Mukesh should slot into the XI if India are looking at just the series win and not anything long term. Otherwise, India have tried to give their players a long run this series. Shreyas Iyer, the vice-captain of the side, is also back after sitting out the first three games, and he could come in, possibly for Tilak Varma. Deepak Chahar is also back in the squad after a long layoff, and could get a look in.
India (probable): 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav (capt), 5 Shreyas Iyer/Tilak Varma, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Arshdeep Singh/Deepak Chahar, 10 Prasidh Krishna/Avesh Khan, 11 Mukesh Kumar
Will offspinner Chris Green get a T20I debut for Australia? He is among four fresh players who could slot into the Australia XI in any combination after the likes of Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Josh Inglis left. Australia could also use batters Josh Philippe or Ben McDermott, or left-arm seamer Ben Dwarshuis. Aaron Hardie, despite conceding Australia’s joint-highest number of runs in a T20I last game, should get another go.
Australia (probable): 1 Aaron Hardie, 2 Travis Head, 3 Matthew Short, 4 Ben McDermott, 5 Tim David, 6 Matthew Wade (capt, wk), 7 Chris Green, 8 Ben Dwarshuis, 9 Nathan Ellis, 10 Jason Behrendorff, 11 Tanveer Sangha.
Pitch and conditions
The only bit of international cricket in Raipur was when New Zealand were rolled over for 108 by India in an ODI earlier this year. The Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium once claimed to have the largest boundaries in Asia, but expect dimensions fit for a T20 extravaganza come Friday.
Stats and trivia
“It will make a lot of difference. The reputation he has in T20 cricket, the sort of form he is in since the World Cup, it will make a big difference to our batting. He is a senior player as well, so that experience will also help us a lot.”
Ravi Bishnoi is looking forward to having Shreyas Iyer back
“Generally, guys talk about bowling first here because once the dew sets in, the conditions do change a little bit. I think that has been the strategy for most teams playing night cricket in India. It all depends on what happens with the toss of the coin, but I think either side will probably look to bowl first.”
Jason Behrendorff on Australia’s plan if they win the toss
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx
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