New world order set to dawn at Wankhede
Mumbai: It will be an all-Asian affair in Mumbai on Saturday, the first of its kind in the history of the sport.
India and Sri Lanka will battle it out for supremacy in world cricket when the two Asian giants meet in the summit clash of the World Cup 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium.
History will be made, records will be broken in the battle between the teams led by two wicket-keeper captains. India are just one win away from being crowned the ODI world champions after almost 28 years.
Both India and Sri Lanka have won the coveted trophy once each but will leave no stone unturned to regain the Cup.
A billion Indians are praying that the best batsmen of modern times Sachin Tendulkar will score an unprecedented 100th international century and take India to victory in the final. Tendulkar has been in good form right through the tournament with 464 runs and his fans will be hoping that he achieves the phenomenal milestone of scoring his 100th international century at his home ground.
The final will also feature the man ranked by the Wisden almanac as the leading spin bowler in the history of the sport. Muttiah Muralitharan retires from all international cricket after Saturday but first he must ensure he takes the field with a struggling knee.
Both the teams have some injury concerns ahead of the grand finale. India have suffered a jolt with Ashish Nehra, who bowled well in the high-voltage semifinal clash against Pakistan in Mohali, being ruled out because of a finger injury.
Similarly, Sri Lanka will miss the service of all-rounder Angelo Matthews, which will be a huge blow for the co-hosts. Mathews’ absence will be hugely felt especially in the lower-middle order, where Chamara Silva and Thilan Samaraweera haven`t exactly shone for the Lankans. If given a huge target to chase, Sri Lanka will have to rely heavily on the team’s experienced hands Tillakaratane Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Sehwag, who started with a brilliant 175 against Bangladesh, has not really fired after that knock though he has rattled up quick-fire 30s and 40s. India need him to be at his brutal best to take the game away from the Lankans.
Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Raina have enough talent and skill to put runs on the board. Dhoni has been struggling with the bat and will be hoping to make a contribution when it matters most.
Yuvraj, who is having a dream World Cup and has already won a record four man-of-the-match awards, will have a key role to play since he is the player in form both with the bat and ball.
The match will be the last outing for India`s highly respected coach Gary Kirsten who has transformed the team into world-beaters as also Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss, who is set to resign after the World Cup.