Twin Claims = Sachin’s 100th century & Cup After 28 years !!
After a nerve-cracker win at Mohali over traditional rivals Pakistan in semis, now ‘Men in Blue’ looks forward to take on Sri Lankan Lions in final at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai on Saturday.
Who will India or Sri Lanka? Though bookies back India as hot favorites, Sri Lankans are not going to give up their fight to regain the cup. But more than who win the match, another interesting betting that is going on in the sub-continent on the eve of WC final is; “Can ‘master blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar complete his 100th century? (To his credit, he got 99 test and one-dayer centuries and missed out at Mohali the other day by reaching 75, falling 25 runs short, in spite of getting ‘four’ lives.) Thus, far the 2011 World Cup final attains significance for these two major factors, which are so close to cricket lovers in this country, where they treat the game as a religion and Sachin as their God!
Back to the game, both the teams are evenly balanced and India holds better track record, besides the home crowd support advantage. Sri Lanka’s campaign in this year edition World Cup is very impressive as they beat England in quarters effortlessly and then New Zealand in semis, though sweating it out a bit. Their top order – Upula Tharanga, Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardane, skipper Sangakarra in great form, while their speedster Malinga and both the spinners Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, proved demolishing to their opponents, so far in the tourney. Sri Lankan ground fielding is of great quality and can throw the wall around boundary.
Contrary to this, India though started its campaign on a shaky note with a lose against South Africa and tied match with England in their Group, come good in later games – especially in quarters, thrashing Australia in quarters and demolish Pakistan dreams in semis. Like their counter-parts, Indian openers – Sachin and Sehwag are also in good knick. Compare to Sri Lanka’s batting strength, India looks a shade better, with Gautam Ghambir at No.3, followed by Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and skipper M S Dhoni himself.
Similarly, Indian spin duo led by Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj, are impressive so far, while Zaheer Khan proved demonstrating by figuring among the top bracket of wicket takers in the World Cup so far.
Though, none are as emotive as during India-Pakistan semis, yet Indian fans want Dhoni to regain the Cup, at least after 28 years. There is no denying fact that this Indian team is the best in the world today and if Dhoni failed to best utilize to his advantage and get into history pages as second successful Indian captain after, Kapil Dev Nikhanj, I for one firmly believe, it would be difficult for India to dream such a chance in near future. Can India afford to miss out this chance? No, that’s my gut feeling and hope yours too!