India lead 5-ODI series 3-0    Getty Images
India lead 5-ODI series 3-0 Getty Images

It is the last ball of the penultimate over. India need 14 runs to win. MS Dhoni loves taking the match until your pulses quicken up and eventually you forget to breathe. A single, and India would be 13 runs away from victory in the last over. A six coupled with fours: Dhoni understands the business better than any other player.

Kesrick Williams bowls it under Dhoni s nose. That wild heave, the one that defines Dhoni, is being readied. The bat hovers in Dhoni s palms, and he rues himself for playing an uncharacteristic stroke. Dhoni departs, and India lose the fourth ODI against West Indies by 11 runs.

India needed single off the last ball and Dhoni for the last over. They got none.

This had happened in the month of July, the time Dhoni was shoved under the barrage of criticism. Two months since the event, India have not lost in ODIs, West Indies failed to earn direct qualification for 2019 World Cup, and Dhoni managed to silence the critics with spectacular performances.

Virat Kohli equalled Dhoni s streak of 9 consecutive wins in ODI, after his men chased down a near-300 target at Indore and sealed the five-match series 3-0. If India rise above the hapless visitors in the fourth ODI at Bengaluru, they will win 10 ODIs on the trot for the first time. Surprisingly, along with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, India have not yet attained this feat, while Australia have done it six times. However, Australia have not won an overseas ODI for over a year now. That, well, is a story for another day.

Tryst at Bengaluru

Of the six matches played between these teams at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, India have won four matches, lost one, and one ended in no result. The last outcome may take ruin your mood on Thursday, as rain threat continues to loom over the series. A PTI report stated, The curators at the Chinnaswamy Stadium are taking every step to keep the pitch dry to avoid a shortened game. The stadium, however, has a cutting-edge technology to deal with wet conditions. The technology helps umpires to resume the match quickly even after heavy rain.

This, however, was the bad news. There is much more to talk about the India-Australia clashes at Bengaluru, and one that often comes to the fore is that breathtaking 209 oozing out of Rohit Sharma s bat the last time these two teams met here.

News from the middle

Ashton Agar has gone back home to nurse his injured finger. This loss comes as a blessing in disguise for leg-spinner Adam Zampa who has been benched after the first ODI. Another probable change would be replacing Patt Cummins with all-rounder James Faulkner. This adds more spines to their fallible batting.

Likely XI for Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith (c), Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb (wk), Pat Cummins/James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa

Kohli had hinted that India would make changes in order to give opportunities to the benched players. Akshar Patel is back to his full fitness. India will have to drop either Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav.

Does that also mean that Kohli would rest himself? If others are getting a chance to showcase their skills, why not let Rohit Sharma, the vice-captain, call the shots? He anyway does not get to deputise with Dhoni in the team. You may only pity him.

In case Kohli sits out with an injury in the future, Rohit should not feel the burden of captaining his team in a crunch match. All depends whether the optimistic coach Ravi Shastri sees the glass half empty of half full.

Shikhar Dhawan continues to be unavailable, as he is with his ailing wife.

If Kohli does bench himself, KL Rahul would get a nod at No. 3. That, however, did not happen against Sri Lanka when India had sealed the series. The following XI may confuse you. Do blame Kohli for his statements. Too many either, or .

Likely XI for India: Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav/Akshar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal/Akshar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah/Umesh Yadav

Pitch

The weather would be stormy, according to the weathermen. The pitch, as always, will be suitable for the batters. Team winning the toss would want to bat first, unless it decides to challenge his team to chase down whatever Australia put up. That man is tough to understand at times.

TIME: 13:30 local | 8:00 GMT