India and Sri Lanka eye second title in all-Asian final

Mumbai: Co-hosts India and Sri Lanka will be gunning for their second World Cup title when they clash in the all-Asian final at Mumbai`s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

The showdown will also be the last on-field duel between Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan -- the best batsman and the most successful bowler of the era.

While Tendulkar, 37, has not yet indicated when he plans to retire, Muralitharan, who will turn 39 later this month, will play his last international match on Saturday.

Muralitharan, the only survivor from Sri Lanka`s 1996 World Cup winning team, is determined to take the field despite battling hamstring and knee injuries.

It will be Tendulkar`s sixth and last shot at adding the only major trophy missing from his glittering cabinet and this time he has the backing of his home crowd at Wankhede Stadium.

More than a billion Indians will hope that the master batsman gets to his hundredth ton and end the country`s 28-year wait for a second 50-over crown.

Led by two stumper-batsmen in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara, both the neighbours have lost only one match in their campaign so far.

For Saturday`s match, India are almost certain to miss seamer Ashish Nehra because of a fractured finger while Sri Lanka lost all-rounder Angelo Mathews to a thigh strain.

If India beat Sri Lanka, they would have beaten all past world champions on their path to victory -- West Indies in their last group stage match, Australia in the quarter-finals and Pakistan in the semi-finals.

Bureau Report