Opening partnerships will be crucial
by Asher Wilson

Scorecard:Australia v India
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2012/13

DateLine: 28th September 2012


Australia vs India
ICC World T20 2012
4th Super Eight
Match Preview


Australia and India are going to be up against each other in their opening Super 8 fixture of the ICC World T20 2012 at Colombo, with both teams looking to make a strong statement in Group 2, which is believed to be the stronger of the two pools. Opening partnerships will be crucial when unbeaten India and Australia face each other today, the opposing captains said on Thursday.


After the Aussies lost the T20I series against Pakistan earlier this month in the UAE being troubled by the Pakistan spinners, India may also want to try and exploit this possible weakness. However, the Australian batsmen must have plans to counter a spin attack


Having thumped Ireland in their opening encounter, George Bailey and company outclassed a strong West Indies side in the second game, per the Duckworth/Lewis method. Australia have two of the most destructive T20 batsmen in the shape of Shane Watson and David Warner, with the former being extremely effective with the ball as well. Watson has already earned two Man of the Match awards in the tournament and has looked extremely threatening and has been cleverly used by skipper Bailey as he has proved to be a potent partnership breaker.


The Indian batsmen will need to be careful against Watson. Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc can prove to be a handful but it will be chinaman bowler Brad Hogg who will need to play a big role. The only problem for Australia will be its middle-order which hasn't been tested in the two matches which were almost single-handedly won by Watson. The all-rounder has taken full advantage of the powerplay overs to slaughter the bowlers. With Warner and Hussey for company, the “terrific trio” make up for a superb top-order.


Today's match will be a duel between two bowling units where Indian spinners are pitted against Aussie pacers in what promises to be a fantastic contest. Although the 22-yard strip at the R Premadasa Stadium is expected to assist the slower bowlers, the Aussie fast bowlers are likely to test the Indian batsman with some short-pitched stuff.


Virat Kohli tops the Indian run scoring chart with 90 from two knocks. Rohit Sharma has a half century to his name and Gambhir a top score of 45. Harbhajan Singh made a welcome return to form with figures of 4/12 against England. In the absence of Ashwin, fellow spinner Chawla also kept things very tight against England on this ground. So if we see a similar deck, Australia can expect to bat a big chunk of their innings with the pace off the ball.


With Sehwag's expected comeback, there are clear indications that India will go back to their 'seven-batsman, four-bowlers' theory and either Lakshmipathy Balaji or Zaheer Khan will get the axe as Ravichandran Ashwin who was rested against England, will also make a comeback into the playing eleven, Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan, who has been providing the team with breakthroughs regularly are automatic choices for this match. While Zaheer has been in disappointing form for the past couple of months, Balaji has just made a comeback and bowling first-up against the destructive players such as Shane Watson and David Warner will be like throwing him at the deep end of the pool.


The batting, however, bears a much more settled look with the good news being that Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma are back among runs. The only thing to worry will be Yuvraj Singh`s position in the batting order. The talented left-hander has been struggling with the bat. While ODI matches give him a chance to settle down, the number of dot balls Yuvraj has played in the recent matches is something that he needs to figure out.


After six head to heads the scores read 3-3 and a two match series in Australia in February this year was shared 1-1. Historically, the margins of victory for either side have been of the wide variety with a 15-run win for India back in the 2007 edition of this tournament being the closest finish.


The earlier match between the Proteas and Pakistan should give two teams plenty of pointers towards the conditions and the India will be hoping for a similar track to the one on which they destroyed England. With that in mind, both teams may be inclined to hold fire and wait to see if the pitch takes spin to figure out their final squads and strategies.


India (From): MS Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh.


Australia (From): George Bailey (c), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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