Match Preview | IND v AUS | 1st T20I
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Annesha Ghosh. @ghosh_annesha in twitter
The last time Australia was in India to play T20Is was during the tri-series against India & England back in March 2018. They were a force back then with crushing performances at the Brabourne, and they will yet again be a force for the Indian unit to reckon with. However, it's a slightly weakened Australian lineup with no Meg Lanning & Rachael Haynes in their side.
VENUE - Dr. D.Y. PATIL STADIUM, MUMBAI
While many may not be aware of this, but there were two women's games played recently at this venue. These two games were played between New Zealand Development Squad & West Indies U-19 with the scores being as follows:
Game 1 - 116/9 & 117/9
Game 2 - 176/5 & 142/7
The pacers & spinners pretty much had an equal amount of success. But, with these games being at night, it will be safe to assume that there will be swing early on & dew shall settle in the 2nd innings. This means that teams winning the toss could opt to bowl 1st.
India starts their new phase without Ramesh Powar as their head coach. Hrishikesh Kanitkar will be the batting coach and could potentially act as the head coach in the mean time as well. There are question marks on what XI India is going to field and whether Shafali Verma & Richa Ghosh will be a part of the side. India's best chance to win games in this series will come at the D.Y. Patil rather than the Brabourne Stadium. Australia has enough experience at the Brabourne with a good record there, but D.Y. Patil remains a question mark.
Megan Schutt has been the most successful overseas bowler in India and if she has had her swing give her plenty of success, then India's Renuka Singh also falls in that category and is expected to have equal, if not higher success.
Wrist spinners win you games & India finally has one after a long time in Devika Vaidya. However, it will be pointless if she doesn't get a go at this venue and it is very much a possibility with the Indian team who take some weird calls.
If Shafali Verma plays, then she'd have a massive challenge up front in the form of Megan Schutt. Shafali's weakness against balls swinging back in has been evident, and Schutt is one of the best bowlers in world cricket to exploit that and target Shafali's stumps.
Smriti Mandhana is an elite batter & that eliteness shall once again be at play in most of the games in this series. Her batting in the powerplay is what needs to be kept an eye on. If she shows up with intent, then Australia would be on the back foot after the powerplay itself.
Australia is fresh off the WBBL and getting acclimatized to the Indian conditions will be their biggest challenge. This is where the best chance lies for India to get off to a winning start. Alyssa Healy leads in the absence of Meg Lanning & she'd have a challenge first-up with her batting form being up & down.
In a team flocked with pacers, Megan Schutt will be the most important pacer of them all in the absence of Darcie Brown. All the other pacers have a tendency to be very wayward, but Schutt very rarely loses her radar.
Beth Mooney can play spin & she can play pace. She is never out of runs & the recently concluded WBBL suggested the same. How India plans against her will determine Australia's winning chances. If they allow Mooney to bat beyond 10 overs, then India might as well be staring down the barrel.
Alana King has arguably been the best wrist spinner in T20 cricket for the past year and when she is on a roll, it's hard to stop her. Harmanpreet Kaur in the middle order would be vital for India and if Alana or any other bowler gets her dismissed early, then it could mean trouble for India.