Saturday, September 22, 2007

An India-Pakistan Final on the cards

After a dramatic clash at Durban which has now become a venue of perennial heartbreaks for the home team (South Africa), the Indians now face a Himalayan task of defeating the resurgent Aussies.
After their loss to Zimbabwe (which might be attributed to complacency), and the subsequent loss to Pakistan, the Kangaroos, on Thursday, decimated the Sri Lankans on a seamer-friendly wicket and went on to brutally bludgeon their opponents of the T20 World Cup. It was a massive statement that would have made the other teams shake in fear, if not for the euphoria of qualifying.

India must be feeling swell after such a win, but the Men In Blue must work on a strategy meticulously to overthrow the Order of the Golden Yellow, who are not feeling all too well in this format. Although Hayden has been his best in the last few matches, he hasn't been his imperious self when faced with quality bowling. And India have Harbhajan, his old tormentor, in peak form. Their duels on the field during the Aussie tour of India in 2001 are the stuff of legend. Needless to say we can expect the piece de resistance from these two.
Man to man, although India doesn't look an equal to Australia, (without Sachin, Saurav, Dravid and Zaheer) the brevity of this format minimizes such differences. If the Indians can eliminate the ridiculous number of wides and play professional cricket (like they did last match), it would be time for the Australians to pray for miracles.

The other semi-final involves two teams who seem to be equals in most respects. New Zealand and Pakistan have so many things in common. They have the big hitters (Oram, Styris, Afridi), the crafty batsmen (McCullum, Mcmillan, Shoaib Malik, Misbah Ul-Haq), the fiery pacers-(Bond, Asif) and spinners (Afridi, Vettori). And they always have been inconsistent in the World Tournaments. Pakistan failed miserably in the ‘99 final while New Zealand has a history of failing in the Big games.
And looking at the recent form of both teams, we can expect a tight match. But, I will still go with Pakistan. They have defeated New Zealand in all the World Cup encounters up to date.

So it does look like its going to be "The Mother of All Finals". An India-Pakistan clash in a major tournament has taken about 30 yrs in the coming and the fate of it materializing is in the hands of the two resurgent teams under two young responsible captains-Dhoni and Malik.

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