One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Champions Trophy Final - quick preview

Under-prepared wickets, dewy outfields, weak teams, half-empty stands, doping scandals, ICC-BCCI war of words... the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy had all this going against it and more!

And yet... it all comes down to this day. The day of the finals! And say whatever about the playing conditions or off-field controversies, what we have today are the two best teams of the tournament competing for the title!

West Indies, a team that was so easy to write off just 6 months ago, has pulled up its socks and performed... and how! The rise of this former powerhouse of world cricket must be satisfying for the one's who felt sorry seeing a giant in decline. At the same time, their rise is a lesson for teams like India. A lesson which teaches us that determination and hard work are old fashioned values that always work wonders!

Australia are a class team. They may have been low-key in this tournament, but they still find themselves in the final. They are team loaded with talent and ability. And even on an off day, they can still win without too much trouble. And yet, cracks are visible in their citadel of invincibility.

Knowing the Aussie approach, I'm sure they will go on an all-out attack right upfront in today's match. And I'm also sure that the shrewd player that Brian Lara is, he will be ready to weather the storm and then unleash his own Gayle-force storm and hope that the cracks in the Aussie armour widen enough to thrust the winning blow.

This makes for an exciting match. And I can only hope that 15 days of dedicated work on the CCI pitch has ensured a good sporting wicket that will give us a match worthy of a final. As far as the dew factor is concerned, I can say that it will not be too much of a factor today because of the lower-than-normal humidity here in Mumbai today.

As for me... I'm rooting for West Indies!! ... Go Windies!! :-)

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