The Champions Trophy final – preview

1 Have your say

    With the final match left to be played in the last ever Champions Trophy, most Aussie supporters have tuned out and are focusing on the success of the recent Socceroos and the Wallabies series against the Lions.

    From a cricket perspective, most Australians were disappointed in results both on and off the field. Not only did we fail to make the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy for the first time since 2000, but there were again discipline issues off the field and our in-form batsman, Michael Clarke, didn’t even take one step onto the field.

    It is hoped by all Aussies he will regain fitness in time for the first Ashes Test and, with the injection of our Test players, stability among the team is vital.

    I can only imagine it isn’t a happy group at the moment and having been in teams that have felt that, you certainly don’t perform well on the pitch under those circumstances, no matter how many stars you have in the team.

    I digress, enough about the Australians and back onto the final match of the Champions Trophy.

    England have certainly used playing on their home soil to their advantage, as they know the conditions so well. However, with the weather playing a role in the latter stages of the tournament, they have been solid without being devastating.

    For England to win the Champions Trophy for the first time since the inception of the tournament they will need their key players to perform and the rest of the team to continue the form they have already shown to get them into the final.

    In the batting department, Alastair Cook’s role seems to be to take the shine off the two new balls and give England a solid start. Then the likes of Jonathan Trott and his new partner in crime, Joe Root, have been forming great partnerships, which has seen both of them score the bulk of the team’s runs.

    If both batsmen continue their form, it will allow England’s middle order to come in, enjoy the last 10 overs and play with a lot of freedom.

    In finals we always talk about putting the runs of the board first and then allowing scoreboard pressure to build on the opposition in the second innings. During finals there is of course more at stake, so the scoreboard pressure counts for a lot more than a usual round match but, based on recent results and weather conditions, it might be best to bowl first.

    If England does bowl first, it is a sure bet that James Anderson will lead the attack by using the conditions extremely well and, hopefully for him and England, walk away with a bag full of wickets.

    What has surprised me is the fact that there is some turn in the wickets and with James Tredwell picking up 3 for 19 in the last game he will be confident. Plus if Graeme Swann is fit, they form a formidable attack for the Indians to face.

    But let’s remember our subcontinent friends are the best in the business when it comes to facing spinners.

    Unlike England, India has been in devastating form, blowing its opposition off the park without even raising a sweat.

    India’s top order has certainly hit a purple patch led by Mr Slick, Shikhar Dhawan, who can do no wrong at the moment. Dhawan has been India’s leading run scorer in the tournament and because of his success he hasn’t really allowed other key Indian batsmen to spend much time in the middle.

    This may prove to be India’s achilles heel because if Dhawan gets out early, India will be relying on a middle order which hasn’t really featured a lot in this tournament.

    If that is the case, look to Captain MS Dhoni to stand up when it counts and get India into a winning position.

    The other player that has impressed me is Ravindra Jadeja with the ball and occasionally with the bat. It seems like any Indian player that has his moustache twirled like Dhawan is in the form of their life and Jadeja is no exception to this.

    So whom am I going to pick as the winner?

    Seeing as Australia is not the final, I will go with the country of my birth, India.

    Despite England being at home, I can guarantee they will feel like they are in India, because the Indian supporters will come out in their thousands and be more vocal than the Barmy Army.

    India are on too much of a roll and with a relatively young side they are hungry to prove the World Cup win wasn’t a fluke and they are the number one team when it comes to 50 over cricket.

    The Ashes is almost here, and we want to know who YOU think should line up for Australia against England in the first Test.
    Pick your Ashes dream team here