India will look to strike the right chords and level scores with Australia while taking on the hosts in the second T20I of the ongoing three-match series here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
Having suffered a narrow four-run defeat at the hands of Australia in the opening match, the Virat Kohli-led side will definitely be pondering upon the areas that need to be improved.
Indian pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah did a pretty fine job with the bowl as they successfully restricted the Australian batsmen to less than 7-an-over. But the game took a sudden turn when newcomer Khaleel Ahmed could not maintain the pressure that was built initially. Krunal Pandya, who was supposed to provide balance to the team by producing an all-around performance, failed terribly on the day conceding 55 runs in his spell of four overs.
Making the newcomers adjust to the foreign conditions and handling the pressure at the same time seems like the biggest task at hand for skipper Kohli.
Indian batting order was not at its best, either. Except for opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, no other player could contribute enough to take their side home. Small cameos from Dinesh Kartik (30 off 13 balls) and Rishabh Pant (20 off 15 balls) was not enough in the end to cross the 174-run target given to India according to the Duckworth Lewis method.
India indeed missed the services of a finisher in the match. After MS Dhoni, the quest for a perfect finisher is still on and it is definitely not a cup of tea for any player to fit in the shoes of one of the best finishers in the cricketing world.
Australia, on the other hand, rose to the occasion right when it was needed. Constantly facing media scrutiny over their disappointing performance after the ball-tampering saga, the hosts must have got a much-needed boost to their morale. Their batsmen did a commendable job to take Australia to a respectable total.
Bowling, however, remains a concern for Australia as most of their pacers proved expensive on the day. But a brilliant spell from spinner Adam Zumpa did the job for them.
A win in the T20 series is crucial for both the sides as they would be heading to a grueling four-match Test series. The format is entirely different but a winning momentum is always a bonus.
Following are the full India and Australia squad for the match:
India: Virat Kohli (c), Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Krunal Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.