Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist. Symonds can win matches in this format, he is a brutal hitter which can swing the game into Australia’s favour and is my key man for an Australia assault.
Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright. Luke has had a fantastic time in the English county season and has the ability to murder an attack. The legendary Kevin Pieterson will be looking to prove a point to his old country and should be their top run scorer. Prior also needs to fire at the top for them to post something remotely defendable with their limited bowling attack.
Dhoni and Singh. India will hope Dhoni can blast the various attacks all over the place while Singh could enjoy this format of the game. India has a great all round side and are always a threat.
Bond and Styris: Bond can ruin the top order on his day and they have various batting options but performances from McCullum McMillan and Styris will be vital
No surprises in this line up who the star could be. Afridi has proven to the world many times that he can rip up an attack as well as perform admirably with the ball. A dark horse in this tournament and could easily end up victorious in the inaugural event.
The Morkel brothers. SA has picked a side full of all rounders. Captain Smith is the leading Twenty 20 run scorer, De villiers is an incredible talent and Philander showed he is class in the emerging players tournament. However my pick for SA are the Morkels. Albie Morkel can be termed a forgotten man of SA cricket yet he is more lethal than Hall, with the bat and certainly no stranger to bowling at the death. A few years ago he starred for SA “A” against New Zealand “A” in SA. Morne Morkel is going to be vital to the SA bowling attack. With the best bowler SA has in the form of Dale Steyn sitting on the sidelines – SA need to ensure that if Pollock and Ntini get knocked around there is adequate support and Morkel is the key man here. If SA win one of the Morkels will have a huge part to play.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Malinga. Jayasuriya is as deadly as ever and Malinga can be the weapon in the bowling department with his unnatural bowling style. A team to watch as they can beat anyone on their day.
Gayle and Smith: and co can chase down big totals but it will be up to the bowlers to try defend their scores. I don’t think they have the bowlers to offer much threat in this tournament.
India are 259/3 going into the start of day 3. Tendulkar and Ganguly are at the wicket with Laxman and Dhoni still to come before the tail starts. England have been chasing leather and need to get some control in the first session today, if they cant pick up a wicket, expect to see India at 350 plus at lunch.
The positive side for England is that India has a monster tail. As said previously, England has great bowlers for a county side and they could clean up the less talented tail with innocuous deliveries that the top order would smirk at. However if England can make an early breakthrough before lunch and try restrict the Indians scoring, India could be out for 370 which is a score England will be more that happy with.
I predict Tendulkar posting a big hundred with support from Ganguly and Laxman. Dhoni will behave like he is part of the tail swinging at everything however today he will not be as lucky as previously and will be out for less than twenty, whilst the rest of the tail is cleaned up for under thirty. Essentially England need to get three wickets cheaply and things will fall apart for the Indians. I don’t see it happening and I see Tendulkar walking into lunch with a hundred to his name.
The only thing I am not sure of is what the weather will be like as there was plenty of rain about England last night so if Trent Bridge has been graced with more rain the English will be smiling. More than likely it will be an overcast day and hopefully Sidebottom who I rte highly can the ball in the right place. He can be a very good bowler if he gets his line and length right but seems to be a “form” bowler and can either delight or disgust the supporters.
There have been numerous reports in England and on the internet stating that England deserved to win, how unlucky they were and how the bad light cruelly intervened. There is no doubt in my mind England lost it on their own. Slow over rates didn’t help them- however there was a prediction of rain for the day and it came a lot later than expected so there is no excuse that rain intervened, it should have intervened an hour earlier.
England picked up the key wickets very early on in the morning which brought Laxman and Dhoni to the crease. England knew that the lengthy tail followed and one more wicket could bring about the same collapse as the first innings. Just one wicket was required and England managed to claim that wicket however it took just under 28 overs to do so. Two hours without a wicket in perfect bowling conditions and a low scoring game is unacceptable. England can blame the weather gods or anyone else for that matter, but in reality the blame lies within the England camp.
India got lucky – there are few times a side has been nine down with more than a session left being offered the light. India got out of jail no doubt, however they were let out more than they escaped. If this is the best bowling attack England can produce for the summer, the English better prey for more rain as the Indian batsmen will destroy them in the upcoming tests.