In Stats: How India Can Neutralise the David Warner Threat
Statistician Arun Gopalakrishnan previews the third T20 between India and Australia through numbers.
After months of going unchallenged, the Indian team finally has a challenger. On Friday, the visiting Australian team will take on Team India in the third and final T20 International of the three-match series.
The match, which will be the first-ever T20 International played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, will decide which team walks away with the series honours. India won the opener in Ranchi, after which the visitors drew level in the second-match in Guwahati.
India have dominated world cricket across formats in recent times. Post the defeat in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in June, the Indian team has a 17-4 win-loss record in international cricket.
They’ve won an ODI series in the West Indies, swept the hosts in all three formats on the tour of Sri Lanka, and most recently defeated Australia 4-1 in the ODI series. The only series – if one may term it that – that India have lost in these last few months is the lone T20I on the tour of West Indies.
The Indian team, on its route to accomplish Mission 111 – to top the rankings in all the three formats of international cricket, will also want to maintain its clean record in bilateral T20 series. India have so far competed in four bilateral T20 series – comprising 3 matches or more – and have emerged victors on every occasion.
So far in this series, both matches have been won by teams chasing. But that could change on Friday. In IPL 2017, it was the team batting first that predominantly prevailed in the matches played in Hyderabad.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium hosted eight IPL 2017 matches, of which six were won by the team batting first.
If the conditions – both on the ground and overhead – are similar to what they were during this year’s IPL, expect the captain winning the toss to bat first.
Focus on Captain Virat
Though there are several match-winners in the Indian line-up, it is important that the captain fires with the bat. Virat had a phenomenal run last year, but he hasn’t quite been able to live up to the same lofty standards in 2017.
Particularly in the T20 format, the difference is in quite evident. If he averaged nearly 90 in the 31 T20 matches he played in 2016, he averages an unimpressive 32 in the 18 T20 matches he has played this year. In fact, in the previous match, the skipper was dismissed for his first-ever duck in T20 Internationals.
Team India need Virat Kohli to fire – and there’s nothing better than to score big and play a match-winning knock in a decider.
Warner at Home Too
The one batsmen the Indian line-up needs to be wary of is the Australian captain. David Warner is rated among the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket. In T20 cricket, he can demolish opponents in a matter of moments.
If there is one venue more than others where Warner has won more T20 matches, it has to be the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. The venue must give him the home vibes given that he captains Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL. His IPL record at the venue is phenomenal. He averages 64.94 and scores a half-century every second innings.
Can Bhuvneshwar Strangle Warner?
On the bowling front, Team India will rely on Bhuvneshwar Kumar to lead from the front. The Purple Cap winner in IPL 2016 and 2017, Bhuvneshwar Kumar knows the conditions well and knows how to take wickets at the venue – having been part of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Indian team will want Bhuvneshwar Kumar to strike early – particularly given that he appears to have an edge over David Warner at the moment.
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