Bengaluru, Feb 27:
The focus remains firmly on the World Cup but India would also be desperate to ensure that a home series does not slip out of their grip when they take on Australia in the second and final T20 International here on Wednesday.
India are 0-1 down after an inexplicably poor batting performance led to a three-wicket loss in the lung-opener in Visakhapatnam.
The below-par 126 with the bat on Sunday denied bowlers a decent shot at securing a win even though the Jasprit Bumrah-led attack did all it could to keep the home team in the game till the final over of the match.
India skipper Virat Kohli has already said that his squad composition for the World Cup in May-July is “more or less sorted” but has not ruled out rewarding standout performances over the course of two T20s and five ODIs.
Considering the captain’s current frame of mind, both K L Rahul and Rishabh Pant are likely to feature in most of the games against Australia.
India rested opener Shikhar Dhawan to give game time to Rahul, who grabbed the opportunity with both hands by smashing 50 off 36 balls in his comeback game.
He had a disastrous Test tour of Australia before he and Hardik Pandya were provisionally suspended for their loose talk on women during a TV show.
The ban was later revoked though they still face an inquiry.
All eyes will once again also be on Mahendra Singh Dhoni the batsman who struggled to an unbeaten 29 off 37 balls as India managed 126 for seven in Vizag.
Australia, on the other hand, will be fancying a rare series win against India in recent times, especially after losing the Test and ODI series at home to Kohli’s team.
They would be happy with their bowling on a slow surface in the first game but made a mess of the 127-run target after cruising at one stage.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), D’Arcy Short, Pat Cummins, Alex Carey, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa.
Match starts: 7pm IST.