India will play its first T20 World Cup 2022 practice match against host Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane on Monday.
While India is coming off successive home T20I series wins against Australia and South Africa, Australia lost a three-match T20I series 2-1 against England at home.
Rohit Sharma’s men had two practice matches in Perth against a Western Australia XI on October 11 and 13. While they won the first match, the Men in Blue, led by KL Rahul, lost the second match by 36 runs.
Here is a look at the key matchups to watch out for from India vs Australia warm-up game:
David Warner vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Australian opener David Warner has been in blistering form in the lead-up to the 2022 T20 World Cup. In two home T20Is against England, he made 77 at a strike rate of 140, with eight fours and two sixes. In the two home T20Is before that, against the West Indies, Warner made 89 at a strike rate of 189.36, with 13 fours and three sixes.
Australia has a clutch of right-handers, which means playing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin wouldn’t have a positive match-up. In Brisbane, in all T20s since 2021, right-arm offspinners have 12 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 30.75. The struggles for finger spinners notwithstanding, India might be tempted to play Ashwin to exploit his positive matchup against Warner. In all T20s, for which ball-by-ball data is available, Ashwin has got Warner out five times in 17 innings while conceding 169 in 138 balls.
Mitchell Starc vs Indian top-order
The Indian top-order of captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul has had its share of troubles against left-arm pace. So, their faceoff against Australian left-arm quick Mitchell Starc could be one that sets the tone for the remainder of the match.
In all T20Is, for which ball-by-ball data is available, Rohit (Ave: 26.63 in 63 innings) and Kohli (Ave: 37.58 in 53 innings) have been out to left-arm pace 19 and 12 times, respectively. KL Rahul, in comparison, has been dismissed just five times while averaging 52 in 32 innings. His faceoff with Starc in the PowerPlay will be interesting.
Suryakumar Yadav vs Adam Zampa
Suryakumar Yadav will be the backbone of Indian batting at No. 4. In all T20Is this year, Suryakumar has 532 runs in 17 innings in the middle-overs at a staggering strike-rate of 180.95. He has struck 31 sixes and 45 fours during the same phase. Australia could counter his threat with attacking leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who has picked seven wickets in the middle overs at an economy rate of under eight in all T20Is in 2022.