By Dhananjay Devasper
The finale to the 2011 World Cup is just two days away at the newly-renovated Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The final promises to be an engaging contest between India and Sri Lanka. The two teams have met so many times in the recent past that it almost seems like a dress rehearsal for the big event.
I decided to have a go at what India might need to be wary of going into the final. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s definitely suggestive
Malinga Slinga – The last time Lasith Malinga played at Wankhede, he was the most expensive bowler in the Sri Lankan side that had decimated the New Zealand team in a World Cup league match. He might just choose the big occasion to bounce back.
It might just help the Indian batsmen to stand a bit outside the crease to upset Malinga’s rhythm.
Spin, Spin, Spin – The earlier match played at the Wankhede Stadium proved that the spinners were lethal. It might just help if Ravichandran Ashwin was brought back in place of Nehra. The spin equation also tilts the balance slightly in favour of the Sri Lankans, who have a potent spin attack.
Momentum shifts – India have been guilty of handing over the momentum when things are going their way, and Gautam Gambhir has figured prominently in this regard. His ill-timed hoick against South Africa, run out blunder against Australia and his mad rush to loft Mohammed Hafeez when things were progressing quite nicely has to be viewed seriously by the team management. Sri Lanka is not a team that will let up when the momentum is going their way.
Dilshan and Tharanga – The most successful opening pair of the World Cup. India will need to get them out cheaply. Maybe Ashwin might just be the man for the job.
Coping with pressure – Here is where India has the edge. Having played some high-pressure matches in the league as well as the knock-out stages, they might just be able to handle the pressure of the final when it comes to the crunch stage.
Drained emotions – An India-Pakistan encounter can leave you mentally and physically drained, but the win can put you on an emotional high. This might just rub off on everyone in the team to pump them up to win the match.
So it’s time to Bleed India’s shade of Blue, for one last time in this World Cup. Go Blue….
(Dhananjay Devasper is an "IT guy" by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with).
Pictures © Getty Images