After two weeks of cricket, not to mention some rough weather, it’s only fair to say that the two best teams have reached the final of the last ICC Champions Trophy. The ruthless manner in which both India and England devoured their respective opposition in the semifinals has set the stage for a mouth-watering showpiece in Birmingham today.
India, particularly, have been so dominant in every game since they got the tournament rolling with a fine win over South Africa. Their batting has been their traditional strength but where they’ve particularly caught the eye this time round is with the ball. The semifinal win over Sri Lanka was as good an example of that as you’ll get.
The bowlers, led by the experienced Ishant Sharma, did a splendid job in vindicating MS Dhoni’s decision to field first and then the batsmen made the run chase look like a mere formality.
Still, as convincing as India’s batting has been against every attack they have dealt with thus far, they are sure to face their sternest test today
against the likes of Anderson, Finn and Broad. The lanky frame of each of these guys allows them to hit the deck hard and extract bounce, something the Indians don’t exactly take too well to.
Mind you, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Virat Kohli have been playing with such confidence that India will be going into this game as confident as they’ve ever been of beating England in their own backyard.
All of India’s wins have been set up by great opening stands between Dhawan and Sharma, which is why I agree with the view shared by many that the outcome of this match will be influenced by whoever comes out on top between India’s top-order batting and England’s new ball bowling.
It will also be intriguing to watch how England’s batsmen tackle the spin threat posed by Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin. Until now, most opposing batsmen have been hesitant to come down the wicket and take on these two though there are valid reasons for that.
Jadeja bowls flat and quick and keeps a low trajectory which makes it hard for a batsman to get on top of him while Ashwin’s carrom ball has been at its effective best in this tournament.
England have never won a 50 over major event and a win today certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to enter the upcoming Ashes duel with Australia, seeing as lot of the same players will be involved in that series.
Professional Management Group