- By Dion Michael
After a month and a half of cricket replete with horrible mismatches, some nerve racking and tense games, and exhibitions of individual brilliance and smart teamwork – the moment everyone has waited for is here – the ultimate prize!
As India and Sri Lanka – the two sub-continental neighbours prepare to face each other in a clash of the titans both sides will carry the hopes and dreams of two entire nations on their shoulders.
It is truly fitting that the final features the two best teams in the entire tournament and no matter how screwed up the format was – it has somehow delivered the best possible contest for the final crown.
The finals will feature two of the games greatest ever entertainers and ambassadors for the sport who will be playing in their last world cup – India’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and Sri Lanka’s bowling magician Muttiah Muralitharan.
For Muralitharan, the game will be his last on the international stage and he would dearly love to leave it on a high note with a world cup winners medal. For Tendulkar, a world cup winners medal is the only trophy that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.
The game will also feature some of the star performers in the tournament so far. Five of the top six batsmen, two of the top five bowlers, the fielder with the most catches, the wicketkeeper with the most dismissals and of course two of the shrewdest captains in the game today will all be on show.
On paper there is little to choose between the two sides. India probably has the edge in batting with Sri Lanka’s middle order looking even more fragile without the gifted Angelo Mathews. Sri Lanka has the better balanced attack and will be looking to orchestrate one of the many Indian batting collapses we have seen throughout the tournament.
Over the last month and a half the cricket has been the main focus across the sub-continent where the game is almost a religion and has a fanatical following. Come Saturday, life in at least two nations will be at a standstill – cricket will take over.
Every TV set and radio will be tuned onto the game, every ball, every wicket and every run analysed and at the end of the day – one nation will break out in unparalled celebrations while the other will go into mourning.
Will the Lions roar or the Tigers triumph – whatever the result may the game produce high quality entertainment – ultimately the team that holds its nerve will be the one to emerge victorious.