Birmingham, June 22 (IANS) The Champions Trophy will fade into history after the last edition ends here Sunday with world's top two ranked cricket teams playing the final - and India aiming to win the trophy outright.
India are at the top of the summit and England are the next best, way down on points, eight points separating them. This huge difference is reflected in the odds favouring India by on-line betting sites in Britain.
India, the only unbeaten side in the tournament, are 8-11 odds on to win the trophy on their terrific current form. All the same, England are hoping their bowling mainstay James Anderson comes up with yet another spell of unplayable bowling to unsettle the Indians. Also, they suspect the law averages to catch up with the Indians in conditions conducive to the home seamers.
India are not only looking to take on England's challenge, but also want to prove that all the shenanigans of the Indian Premier League hardly any effect on their cricket out in the field. They can't think of a better ending to the tournament that holding the trophy aloft Sunday nightfall.
If they, India will be winning the trophy outright for the first time, having shared it with hosts Sri Lanka in 2002 and losing the inaugural final against New Zealand in Nairobi two years earlier. A win will also be a great way to commemorate India's 30 years of 1983 World Cup triumph.
Hosts England are desperately looking for the maiden Champions Trophy win after breaking the jinx of not having won any International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament till they won the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2010.
This is England's second Champions Trophy final, having lost to the West Indies at The Oval in 2004. They are also desperate to go into the Ashes series with their tails up by winning the trophy.
If England think they have the conditions in which they usually revel, the Indians seem to have got the measure of the typical English atmosphere and the blustery June climate.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men clearly looked the best side in the tournament having dictated terms in all their matches, winning comprehensively. Though, barring their defeat against Sri Lanka at the group stage, England, too, looked formidable.
Importantly for India, their batsmen have been amongst runs. Left handed opener Shikhar Dhawan has led from the start by scoring 332 runs briskly at an average of 110.66 from the four matches played, making him the tournament's leading run-scorer. The 27-year-old has scored two centuries and a half-century so far.
Dhawan and his opening partner Rohit Sharma have largely been responsible for India piling up good scores, providing good stats.
Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been highly impressive in the English conditions,providing breakthrough in every match, and none of the top-order left-handed batsmen was comfortable negotiating his away swing.
Ishant Sharma, as third seamer, bowled with venom and picked up wickets at regular intervals.
What gave the attack a sharp edge is the way the two spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled the middle overs to keep the batsmen on a leash and running through the middle and lower-order batting.
Jadeja, in particular, has continued from where he left off against Australia at home to pick wickets for the asking. He is the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 10 wickets with his career-best 5/36 coming against the West Indies.
For the hosts, skipper Alastair Cook and fellow-opener Ian Bell looked solid while Jonathan Trott dropped anchor to keep the innings going.
With 209 runs at 69.66, Trott is the third highest run-getter in the event. Joe Root, 22, with his sensible batting has been their second highest scorer for the side.
India will have to se off Anderson without him causing much damage. He shares the second joint highest wicket-taker berth with Jadeja. If Stuart Broad and Steven Finn make the pace attack look potent, off-spinner James Tredwell filled the vacancy caused by Graeme Swan's absence with a back strain admirably.
Interestingly, both the sides have five full-time bowlers to share the attack, and Dhoni showed that he,too, could turn his arm over in these conditions.
The teams (from):
India: 1. MS Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwa Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan, Murali Vijay, Amit Mishra and Vinay Kumar.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Ravi Bopara, Jos Butler, Tim Bresnan, Chris Broad, Graeme Swan, Steven Finn, James Anderson, James Tredwell, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Rod Tucker (Australia
Third Umpire: Bruce Oxenford (Australia)
Reserve Umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)