LIVE: Australia and India meet tonight (midnight AEST) in the first of a crucial three-game T20 series as both teams prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Australia have only played nine T20Is since the 2021 T20I World Cup compared to India’s 29 during that period. That series should provide valuable experience – and hopefully form – as the Australians prepare to defend their title on home soil.
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While David Warner’s absence puts pressure on fellow openers Aaron Finch, the Aussies are likely to bring Tim David into play for the subcontinent’s opener, which comes after a solid ODI Series win over New Zealand.
Finch retired from the 50-over format after a recent slump in form, only averaging 12.42 ODIs this year. But the 35-year-old will be keen to win some runs ahead of the World Over-20 Championship, which kicks off for Australia at the SCG against New Zealand on October 22.
Despite his recent ODI troubles, the Victorian is Australia’s biggest run scorer in T20I history, amassing 2855 runs at 35.24 and a strike rate of 145.29.
As well as the absent David Warner, Australia have also left Marcus Stoinis and Mitch Marsh at home, while Mitchell Starc is rested from the opener for a trifle. Steve Smith will likely bat at three – a rarity for him in the T20I format.
“Most likely he’ll beat by three this series if Mitch Marsh is out,” Finch said Monday. “We know the quality of Steve. He is one of the best players to ever play the game across all game formats. So we know his skills, his game sense and his tactical skills.
“So we’re really confident that he can do that very, very well, regardless of what role he has to play within the structure of the squad.”
Meanwhile, India will look to improve after a disappointing performance at the recent Asian Cup, with Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel set to help the hosts after missing that tournament.
The clash will take place in Mohali, with live coverage on Fox Cricket and Kayo from 11:20pm AEST.
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