India vs Australia, 1st ODI

Neither Tim Paine will tell Rishabh Pant to babysit his kids nor Pant will remind Paine that he is a temporary captain. We won’t get to listen to banters behind the wickets in the three-ODI series between India and Australia, but do not worry: we have got MS Dhoni to tickle our funny bones.

Dhoni doesn’t prefer sledging, but when it comes to trolling his own team members, he leaves no stone unturned. Once reminding Ravindra Jadeja – who Dhoni prefers calling Sir Jadeja – to bowl the right line, he quipped, “Jaddu, thoda off mein daal. Pujara ko waha taali bajaane ke liye nahi rakha hai.”

This is one of the many Dhoni gems the stump mic has captured, but the contest between India and Australia is far more than wordplay and humour. It is about playing fire with fire, rattling stumps with pace, deceiving batters with spin, hitting the ball so long and high that you think it may never fall off the orbit, and whatnot.

Headlines

Jasprit Bumrah has been rested, until Australia tour India next month. Mohammad Siraj is his replacement.

BCCI have suspended KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya over their comments in a talk show, until further notice.

Australia have called up Ashton Turner as a coverup for Mitchell Marsh who was hospitalised to diagnose gastritis.

Let’s list down the players who are likely to accumulate more points in our fantasy team.Note: Make your fantasy cricket team by knowing the statistics.

MY XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch (vc), Glenn Maxwell, MS Dhoni/Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Adam Zampa

Batters

Who has scored the most ODI runs against Australia in Australia? Sachin Tendulkar? No. Virat Kohli? Uh, no. The answer is Rohit Sharma. He has scored 805 runs at 57.5 in 16 games, with a highest score of 171*. In his last ODI at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), he was dismissed on 99. He’d like to avenge that on Saturday.

If there’s an opposition Kohli likes to grind to the dust, it is Australia. Not that there’s any bad blood, but Kohli likes to smash those who intimidate him. He has 5 hundreds and as many fifties against them.

If India are playing limited-overs, you have to take the trio of Rohit, Kohli, and Dhawan. If not all three, two of them score bulk of the runs. And when all three go bonkers, the oppositions hope for the match to conclude soon and the fantasy players count their blessings. While Kohli ranks first in the ICC ODI Rankings, Rohit and Dhawan are placed at second and ninth positions respectively.

Just like Rohit takes on the Australian bowlers, Finch fancies breaking the Indian bowlers to pieces. In 17 ODIs he has bludgeoned 830 runs, including 2 hundreds and 6 fifties.

Wicketkeeper

Alex Carey could score a mere 31 runs in the T20I series, but he made amends in the ongoing Big Bash League: he collected 162 runs in 6 matches, with a highest score of 70. Although Dhoni has played 326 matches and scored 9,974 runs more than Carey, his form is questionable. He last played professional cricket on November 1. The choice is yours: form vs experience.

All-rounders

In the first T20I, Maxwell and Stoinis stitched 78-run partnership of a meagre 31 balls. Maxwell didn’t get to bowl in that match, but Stoinis ended with figures of 2 for 27 and took his team to a narrow victory by 4 runs.

What’s concerning for India is that Maxwell and Stoinis were in incredible form in the BBL. While Maxwell blasted 129 runs, Stoinis walloped 146 runs in 5 matches.

Bowlers

Bhuvi hasn’t played a professional match for 47 days now. The last he played was in the third T20I at the same venue. However, this won’t bother the experienced lad. If anything, he will be eager to bowl. To make matters more interesting, he is only a victim away from completing 100 ODI wickets.

Kuldeep is the second-fastest Indian to 50 ODI wickets, and is slowly becoming the cynosure of Indian bowling. The alternative is his spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal, but if the conditions are more friendly for the pacers, India will only draft in Kuldeep.

Joining the wrist-spin bandwagon is Zampa, the man responsible for India’s defeat in the first T20I. He took wickets of Kohli and KL Rahul and later on bowled Rohit in the final T20I.

Probable XI for Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake

Probable XI for India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed

Pitch report

The average score, at SCG, is 221 and 187 in the first and second innings respectively. However, the highest total here reads 408 for 5.

Given India scored runs by the hundreds in the last Test, the pitch is likely to assist the batters.

Squads:

Australia: Aaron Finch(c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Jason Behrendorff, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, Ashton Turner

India: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami

Also get to know the tips & tricks on how to play fantasy cricket.

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