No surprise to see India as the hot favourites to lift the cricket world cup in Mumbai on Saturday. India are generally available at 4/7 and Sri Lanka are a best price of 6/4.
Tendulkar is 13/2 to be Man of the Match, serial MOTM winner Yuvraj is 10/1 and Murali (on his one leg) is 11/1.
It’s fair to say that the best two teams of the tournament are in the final, no one got here by fluke or good fortune, both teams have played the best cricket and are in the final on merit.
I hope both sides go out and play their natural attacking games, I thought that Sri Lanka played a bit cautiously against New Zealand in their semi and nearly came unstuck. A repeat of that performance would almost certainly end in defeat here.
India also weren’t at their best against Pakistan, I thought nerves got to both teams and in the end the runs on the board and the pressure that created, along with tight disciplined bowling got India over the line.
After a great start from Sehwag as usual, India stumbled badly when Pakistan’s bowlers put them under pressure, only a late order cameo from Raina made the score look competitive.
Sri Lanka’s bowling attack is certainly no worse that Pakistan’s is, so India can’t rely on just cashing in on weak bowling.
I do though believe that the teams are a lot closer than the odds suggest.
India clearly have strength in their batting, and alongside the impressive Zaheer, Harbhajan has shown some form lately with the ball. Their weaknesses are the fielding and the back up bowlers, India badly need their back up bowlers to be firing in this one.
Sri Lanka have a strong top order and a complete bowling attack. Their so-called weaknesses are claimed to be the middle order batting, in a way that’s an unfair accusation as they have hardly had a chance to show what they are capable off.
Another possible weakness is Murali, not usually words I’d put in the same sentence, but you have to wonder just how fit he really is? His injury has to impact on his performance.
But at the same time he is a big game player, and like Sachin, nothing they achieve would surprise me.
The game is being hyped around these two cricketing giants, I can see it being about far more than just them though. From the reports we hear, it doesn’t look like a 300+ runs wicket. So it looks like it could well be another one of those nervy tight finishes.