Monday, March 28, 2011

From Semi Finals - Into the Finals

ICC World Cricket Cup 2011 has reached it's climax. NZ and SL will fight it out tomorrow in Colombo while PAK and IND will slug it out in Mohali, day after.

SL is considered the favorite to win the first semi final comfortably, while IND is expected come through after a tense fight. My earlier predictions were proved mostly wrong. BD didn't come into quarters, AUS didn't come into Semis and SA didn't come into Semis either. With that kind of a success rate, I should not venture into the prediction business again!

It will be good for the Cricket to have a SL vs Ind final. After all, these were the two teams who were favorites at the start. Ranked number 2 and 3 in the world (top rank team, defending champ, AUS is now gone out of the tournament). In subcontinent conditions, I think most will agree that the best two teams are in the finals if that were to happen. Of course PAK supporters will disagree here. In fact I think they at least have 40% of chance to beat the strong Indian team.

If we omit unpredictables and special events (such as a brilliancy from a single player deciding the match, toss playing a vital role etc). India is the stronger and hence more likely team to win in the semi. However I'm still little doubtful on their ability to hold the nerve in a crunch situation mainly due to the fanatic nature and huge expectations of billions of Indian fans, PAK might see an opportunity there. This applies to SL vs NZ as well..... One certainly can not rule out an upset(s) in the semi's

Anyway, at the moment it looks like a Ind vs SL final. Who would win that one ? When you compare team strengths head to head, it is easy to figure that IND is stronger in batting line up while SL is stronger in bowling. SL was considered (once) as a better fielding side than India, but not anymore after the 4 easy catches they dropped in the quarter finals against England!

So it looks close!

India will have additional pressure in front of home crowd and SL will feel bit relaxed with the underdog tag. In a huge match like this where team strengths are more or less even. It will all come down into three factors.

1) Who will win the toss
2) Who will manage to keep their heads normal under pressure.
3) Individual brilliancies, players who can win matches alone. (Sachin, Sehvag, Yuvraj, Khan for India. Malinga, Murali, Mendis, Dilshan, Sanga for SL)

Whats' your pick ?