Shamik Das


Saturday, April 02, 2011

India expects

MS-Dhoni-Kumar-Sangakkara-posing-with-the-World-Cup

Mumbai, World Cup Final: India v Sri Lanka


TODAY, India will play in the World Cup Final. At home. With the hopes and dreams of a billion people resting on the shoulders of the XI in light blue.

Standing in their way will be Sri Lanka, for whom it will also be a third final, having, like India, won one and lost one.

For Sachin Tendulkar, the stars are in alignment, magically, incredibly, playing the World Cup Final on his home ground, probably his last ever World Cup match, on the verge of hitting his hundredth international hundred.

For Murali, also, the chance to end his cricket career by winning the World Cup, doing a McGrath, and succeeding where Zidane failed by winning the biggest prize of all in his last ever match.

It’s impossible to say for certain who will win, whether the Lankans have one last effort in them, in front of a highly vocal away crowd, or whether India will emulate that glorious summer’s day at Lord’s 28 years ago when Kapil and Amarnath saw off Clive Lloyd’s Winvincibles...


...different times, a different feel, before the commercial behemoth swept all before it, as Sahil Dutta explores in this brilliant feature on Cricinfo today.

Yet for all the razzmatazz, media overkill, faux fans and bandwagon jumpers, this remains, at heart, the sport it’s forever been, 11 against 11, whoever scores the most wins... it oozes class - in the longest form at least - and remains the most compelling drama on God’s Earth. Long may it continue.

So back to the final: who will win? I’m saying India, head as much as heart, the strongest batting line up, the team surfing the crest of a wave, they’ve been tested, they’ve come through it stronger, and, far from wilt under the pressure, the home fans will spur them on.

One last time then, boys... Bangladesh; the memorable tie v England; Ireland; Netherlands; the blip v South Africa; Windies; the quarter final destruction of Australia; the semi final dismantling of Pakistan... And now, Sri Lanka.

It’s time to play up, play up, and pick up the Cup.

Cricinfo match preview: Tournament’s best at final hurdle
Crictime: Watch the World Cup Final live

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