India-Australia contests hardly ever have any any dull moments. The cricketing rivalry between the two teams has intensified over the years. Since the ICC World T20 2007, there has been a different flavour to the contests and expect the same at Rajkot during the only T20 of the ongoing tour. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks a few contests within the contest — battles to watch out for during the game.
India and Australia have had this intense rivalry that has grown over the years — resulting in some unforgettable encounters. Starting from the ICC World T20 2007 semi-final in Durban, the intensity has touched a fever-pitch as India locked horns with the mighty Aussies and beat them in that all important game. When two teams are up for the challenge, one always ends up with some exhilarating cricket. Although Australia are the underdogs during the India tour, they have a set of talented young players to challenge the hosts on their own turf. For the one-off T20 international, there are a few contests within the contest — intriguing battles between players. Let us have a look at them:
The combative opener would be up against an intelligent left-arm medium-pacer who uses his variations to stun the batsmen. Dhawan’s fearless approach can unsettle any pace bowler as he doesn’t shy away from giving him the charge and smashing them through the off-side. However, Faulkner may be a different kind all-together. His slower deliveries are difficult to pick and that may keep Dhawan on the crease. It would be Dhawan’s test of anticipation and Faulkner would have to do his best to keep things quiet.
Yuvraj Singh vs Xavier Doherty
Assuming Doherty plays the game, his battle with Yuvraj Singh could make a huge difference. Yuvraj likes to get things going and can be very destructive in this format. In 2012, he took on the deceptive Saeed Ajmal at Ahmedabad and smashed him to all parts of the ground. For Doherty, it is a chance to establish himself in the Australian ranks and this India tour is crucial in that regard. He may test Yuvraj by giving the ball a little bit of air and inviting him forward.
A wicket-taking bowler vs an attacking batsmen! Kohli has been in splendid form in the recent past and has dominated every attack. Johnson may present new challenges with the slingy left-arm action and pace. Plus, he doesn’t mind exchanging a few words with the batsman. As we know, Kohli too has a word or two. If there is a verbal duel between the two, it may end up firing them up. In the end, who will have the last laugh?
Finch’s reputation has grown after that tour to England and his successful run during this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will hold him in good stead. He may not take time to adjust to the wickets as he seamlessly fit into the mould for Pune Warriors India. However, Bhuvneshwar was in his side then and he didn’t have to face him during a game. Finch may have to be wary of Bhuvneshwar’s wily movement and would have to tune his instincts accordingly. On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar would know that a slight error on his part would be penalised by Finch’s attacking blade.
Watson will attack, no matter what. At the IPL, we have seen him change games in a matter of a few overs. He can bludgeon spinners over mid-wicket with ease and has no problems going for it time and again. Jadeja though, may have a few tricks up his sleeve. The left-arm spinner is very accurate and can hit the right areas with great consistency. It would be interesting to see Watson’s strategy to him as he would want to dominate. But, Jadeja too has to keep things in check and not allow Watson the room to swing his arms.