Ed Hawkins previews game one from the Manuka Oval on Friday morning and expects a close contest...
"Given the lack of confidence in teams batting deep, the edge could be on the toss. With runs on the board, scoreboard pressure could do the rest"
Australia v India
Friday 4 December 08:10
TV: live on Sky Sports
Aussies wait on Stoinis
Australia can return to the top of the ICC T20 rankings with a series win over India after being usurped by England. But they may have to do it without both David Warner and Marcus Stoinis, two players who balance their XI.
Warner is definitely out injured and Stoinis could join him with the side injury that meant he missed the last two matches of the ODI series, which Australia won 2-1.
Matthew Wade, D'Arcy Short or Marnus Labuschagne will open the batting with Aaron Finch but Australia need to be careful with their order and ensure Glenn Maxwell gets as much time as possible. At the moment he could bat at No 5 and that is at least a place too low. There is no Pat Cummins, either.
Possible XI Finch, Short, Smith, Labuschagne, Maxwell, Carey, Agar, Starc, ABbott, Zampa, Hazlewood
The lack of all-rounders which cost India in the ODI series could cost them in the T20s. Yuz Chahal at No 8 is not a well-balanced team.
So, as usual, there is pressure on their gun batters. KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer all performed in the IPL with aplomb, but they are not blasters by any stretch of the imagination. The only two batters they have who are capable of game-turning destructive assaults are Hardik Pandya and, at a push, Ravi Jadeja.
It's also worth noting that the possible XI includes four Royal Challengers Bangalore players, a franchise which is yet to win an IPL.
Possible XI Rahul, Dhawan, Kohli, Iyer, Hardik, Jadeja, Sundar, Chahal, Bumrah, Thakur, Saini
In ODI the Manuka Oval in Canberra has been a graveyard for bowlers. Not so in T20. From all 50 matches played there the average first-innings score is 133. Factoring in rising run rates that number leaps to 143. In nine T20s this year the average run rate has been just above eight - eight of those matches have been women's games. Going back two years in men's only matches these are the scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second): 172-1/160-nr/150-2 (a v Pk) 165-2/181-1/189-1.
Australia, who have four wins out of the last five on the head-to-heads, are 1.855/6 with India 2.166/5. To be frank, we're not hugely enamoured with either line-up, reckoning both have issues with aggression and acceleration.
The hosts are more adaptable so long as they recognise the need for a promotion for Maxwell with the Warner and Stoinis injuries. That's no guarantee.
Given the lack of confidence in teams batting deep, the edge could be on the toss. With runs on the board, scoreboard pressure could do the rest. India, then, rate a trade in that context and we would look for 1.608/13 after the break. They should be in good spirits after winning the last ODI of the series at the same venue.
Be aware, though, that both teams prefer to chase. The Aussies have won seven of their last nine chases at home and India eight of their last 12 away.
Sportsbook have now rectified their rick on the price of KL Rahul for top India bat. They reckoned he was going to bat in the middle order so priced him at 5s. He is now 11/4. Hardik is 11/2 and Kohli 11/4.
Finch, who is 5/2 jolly for top Australia bat, could be accompanied by Short at 16/5. Wade at 4s or Labuschagne at 9/2. Labuschagne opened in the ODI as Australia struggle to find a home for him in the white-ball teams. Maxwell is 5/1.
The Big Past Preview Part I on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l