MS Dhoni & Co may have won the T20 World Cup but it will be the first time a T20 international will be played in India. Little wonder, it is a sell-out
MUMBAI: It’s the version’s first day first show. And it’s a sell out. The Twenty 20 international being played between India and Australia at the Brabourne Stadium is the first time this format of the game will be played at the highest level in the country.
And rejoice, it is the one version in which India enjoys a hundred percent win record against the Australians, having beaten them by 15 runs in the only other encounter between the two at the T20 World Championship semifinal in South Africa a couple of weeks ago.
For the Aussies, it will be a first of a different kind. Scratch your head and go back years to remember the last time an Australian side played another World Champion. Even captain Ricky Ponting was bemused at the prospect.
“We are pretty excited actually, and looking forward to the game. We are playing a team that has just won the World Cup in this version a few weeks ago. So I think it is going to be exciting and competitive.”
Meanwhile, the Indian camp was a little flustered with the news that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was suffering from a knee injury. But it all came to rest when Dhoni spent over half an hour at the nets practicing. “At the moment he looks fine. I think he should be okay and will play. But we will only know for sure tomorrow,” said Robin Uthappa, speaking on behalf of the team management.
For the record, India named their Twenty20 World Cup-winning squad for this match, though leg-spinner Piyush Chawla will miss out due to an ankle injury.
The Aussies had better news to share, with opening batsman Matthew Hayden fully fit to feature in the match tomorrow. Hayden is expected to play on Saturday after he missed the last two one-dayers with a sore hip. “Matt looks good and fit and if everything else remains the same, he will play tomorrow,” said Ponting.
Ominously for the Indians, Hayden looked in supreme touch. He dispatched almost every ball out of the boundary ropes, during a practice session on Friday morning.
The wicket, the Australian captain said looked good. “We are very excited about playing here in Mumbai again. The wicket is good. So, yeah, I think it is going to be a good game.”
Despite the hype surrounding the game, both teams know that the transition from the longer 50-over ODI to the brief Twenty20 is going to be difficult. Even during nets, the front foot prods where replaced by more ‘dancing down the nets’ and whacks to all parts of the ground.