After a grueling group phase & a riveting knockout phase, the two best teams of this World Cup are in the Finals. The defending champions Sri Lanka have shown what it takes to be a consistent side while the strong Australian side has confidently marched through the tough road and booked their place in the finals.
From unpredictable & tough pitches to some really giant sides, these teams have fought through all odds to merit a place in the finals. Let's look at the road to the finals for both these teams.
Sri Lanka have been the "domination personified" in the Hitwicket World Cup. After winning the previous 2 editions, they played with the swagger of champions but never let it become over-confidence! They cruised through the group stages without any issues. Their NRR of over 7 in the group stages was just a glimpse of their domination. They were confronted with some tricky games in the knockout phase but they showed the character of true champions and overcame the challenge from Uttar Pradesh & Gujarat in pre-quarters and quarters respectively. They were pitted against a quietly confident West Indies side incidentally was being led by their ex-Head Coach! It was a battle of wits which Sri Lanka just about won with their astute strategy. The one thing they hold over their opponents in the final is the knowledge of how to win the big final, twice!
Australia were always one of the strongest units in this World Cup. Being the Intercontinental Champions was just another tick in the box for them in the long list of expectations. A strong squad strength, a Head Coach who is the winner of the Hitwicket Premier, support staff which boasted of some of the most methodical managers & the tag of being crowd favorites was a big cross for them to carry. But, as they say, Champions don't get weighed down by pressure, they get charged up by it. Australia have looked in sublime form from the outset. After cruising through the group stages, they also had a few tricky games to contend with the knockouts. Their quarterfinal against Pakistan was perhaps their toughest test but their management ensured that the ship sailed through the storm & got even tougher in the process. They have just beaten Bengal, the giant killers of this World Cup in the semifinals. Thought the win seemed an easy one, the win would have added to their confidence of now shivering in key moments. Can they systematically plot the fall of the defending champions is the question we all want an answer to.
This is the match of 2 champions who know all about winning big moments and big matches. It's going to be fascinating to see who aces this battle of nerves!