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Rain permitting, imperfect India & Australia seek fitting end

India and Australia have taken turns at batting poorly to gift a win to each other in the T20I series.
India and Australia have taken turns at batting poorly to gift a win to each other in the T20I series. © AFP
David Warner and Australia's quest to end their India tour on a high has landed them in a territory highly familiar to the skipper. Just three days after their first meaningful victory (and second on the tour) in the context of the series, they've travelled down to a city whose affection for Warner has multiplied over the last few of years.
When the Aussie skipper uttered "hopefully the crowd gets behind us in Hyderabad" after their series-levellng win in Guwahati on Tuesday, he wasn't merely pushing his luck. In recent times, the crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium has reserved its loudest cheer for 'its' Indian Premier League captain, who has been nothing short of Sunrisers' talisman, even bringing them title glory in 2016.
Don't rule out the outpouring of love even when he turns up in Australia's yellow instead of the Sunrisers' orange, on Friday (October 13). But it's not just Warner's den where the two teams are meeting; the game will be a brief Hyderabad reunion for three other Sunrisers players - Moises Henriques, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Besides the obvious geographical connect, this game is also the exact sort of fixture that the visitors have yearned for throughout their time in India. The feeling of being on par with the home side before heading into the last fixture must be liberating, but the pressure is bound to hit crescendo in the tour finale.
Australia looked rather comfortable in their (small) chase in Guwahati, but that was purely down the performance of their bowlers - who've done very little wrong in the last four weeks. Jason Behrendorff's sensational debut performance doesn't mask the fact that Australia's middle order is still shaky. After Glenn Maxwell's failure in Ranchi, Warner had to put his Sunrisers cap on and promote Henriques to No. 3 - a move that worked on the day. Yet, there is a sense of brittleness to Australia's batting order from positions 3 to 7.
As it turns out, India don't seem all too sorted in that same department either. After a top three of Rohit Sharma, Dhawan and Virat Kohli - who happened to score his first T20I duck on Tuesday - India's next four don't inspire too much confidence either.
India and Australia have taken turns at batting poorly to gift a win to each other in the T20I series. They've both owned the exact same measly first-innings score (118) in their respective defeats and don't appear to have well-rounded plans for T20 success - as evidenced by their current standing in the ICC T20I rankings (India - 5th, Australia - 6th). Friday's game thus, doesn't just give the winner a T20I trophy, but also the chance to shine out few of the many rough edges that both teams possess.
When: India vs Australia, 3rd T20I, October 13, 2017; 19:00 IST; 13:30 GMT
Where: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
What to expect: Rain and Thunderstorms. The entire week leading up to the game has been about bright sunshine and incredibly heavy rain taking turns. On the eve of the fixture, the stadium did not see a drop of rain in the first half of the day, while several other parts of the city received heavy downpour. The forecast for match day, particularly from 7 PM IST onwards, appears rather grim.
Team News:
Ashish Nehra's announcement of his upcoming departure from the game on November 1 is unlikely to force Kohli to give him a game, considering it is a series decider and the fact that Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah have formed together an able bowling pair to lead India at the start and the death overs.
One possible change that the team management could ponder over is slotting in either KL Rahul or Dinesh Karthik - both of who batted in the nets on the eve of the game. Either one of them can be slotted in at No. 4 in place of Manish Pandey to add some stability to a top order that had single digit scores in Guwahati.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Manish Pandey/KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni(wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Daniel Christian, who was dropped for the second T20I, got some batting practice but it seems unlikely that Australia will tinker with a combination that earned them such a clinical victory on Tuesday.
Probable XI: David Warner(c), Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Paine(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
Did you know?
David Warner has scored the most runs in T20 matches in Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad - 1291 runs from 27 innings at 61.48 with two hundreds and 11 fifties.
A win in the third T20I would give India their 11th win against Australia - the joint-most by any team against any opponent.
Virat Kohli has now been dismissed for a duck in each of the three formats against Australia this year.
What they said:
"It was nice to be in a winning partnership. As batters, you want to be there and win games for Australia. And we were able to do that. With the series on the line, hopefully someone can do it. Hopefully, it's me again." - Travis Head is eager to be in the thick of the action again in the decider.
"Last two-three years has been a great journey. I always feel it is not how you start, but how you finish." - the retiring Ashish Nehra got a bit philosophical as he spoke of the second wind in his career that came at the start of January 2016.
Tag : Cricket Info
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