With the Final match left to be played in the last ever Champions Trophy most Aussie supporters have tuned out and are focusing on the success of the recent Socceroos and the Wallabies series against The Lions.
From a cricket perspective most Australians were disappointed in teams of results both on and off the field. Not only did we not make the semi finals of the Champions Trophy for the first time since 2000, but there were again discipline issues off the field and our in form batter, Michael Clarke, didn’t even take one step onto the field.
It is hoped by all Aussies that he will regain fitness in time for the first Ashes Test and with the injection of our Test players stability in amongst the team is vital. I can only imagine that it isn’t a happy group at the moment and having been in teams that have felt that, you certainly don’t perform well on the pitch under those circumstances, no matter how many stars you have in the team.
I digress, enough about the Australians and back onto the Final match of the Champions Trophy.
England playing on their home soil has certainly used it to their advantage, as they know the conditions so well. However, with the weather playing a role in the later stages of the tournament they have been solid without being devastating.
For England to win the Champions Trophy for the first time since the inception of the tournament they will need their key players to perform and the rest of the team to continue the form that they have already shown to get them into the final.
In the batting department, Cook’s role seems to be to take the shine off the two new balls and give England a solid start. Then with the likes of Trott and his new partner in crime, Root, forming a great partnership so far, that has seen both of them score the bulk of the teams runs. If both batters continue their form it will allow England’s middle order to come in and enjoy the last 10 overs and play with a lot of freedom.
In finals we always talk about putting the runs of the board first and then allow scoreboard pressure to build on the opposition in the second innings. During finals there is of course more at stake so the scoreboard pressure counts for a lot more than a usual round match, but based on recent results and weather conditions it might be best to bowl first.
If England does bowl first, it is a sure bet that Anderson will lead the attack by using the conditions extremely well and hopefully for him and England walk away with a bag full of wickets.
What has surprised me is the fact that there is some turn in the wickets and with Tredwell picking up 3 for 19 in the last game he will be confident. Plus if Swann is fit, they form a formidable attack for the Indians to face, but lets remember that our subcontinent friends are the best in the business when it comes to facing spinners.
Unlike England, India has been in devastating form, blowing its opposition off the park without even raising a sweat.
India’s top order has certainly hit a purple patch lead by Mr Slick, Dhawan ,who can do no wrong at the moment. Dhawan has been India’s leading run scorer in the tournament and because of his success he hasn’t really allowed other key Indian batsmen to spend much time in the middle.
This may prove to be India’s achilles heel because if Dhawan gets out early, India will be relying on the middle order that hasn’t really featured a lot in this tournament. If that is the case look to Captain Dhoni to stand up when it counts and get India into a winning position.
The other player that has impressed me is Jadeja with the ball and occasionally with the bat. It seems like any Indian player that has his moustache twirled like Dhawan is in the form of their life and Jadeja is no exception to this.
So whom am I going to pick as the winner?
Seeing as Australia is not the final, I will go with the country of my birth, India.
Despite England being at home, I can guarantee that they will feel like they are in India, because the Indian supporters will come out in their thousands and will be more vocal than the Barmy Army.
I believe that India are on too much of a roll and with a relatively young side they are hungry to prove that the World Cup win wasn’t a fluke and that India are the No. 1 team when it comes to 50 over cricket.