Gut feeling we're in for a SA-India final
The semifinal lineup at the Champions Trophy is a fair reflection of the tournament so far.
The only team that can count themselves a bit unlucky is the West Indies, who lost a cliffhanger against the Proteas in a shortened match decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system.
India have been the pick of the bunch so far. They played the best cricket during the qualifying phase. They are at the moment favourites to go through and win the event.
They take on Sri Lanka in the second semifinal. The Sri Lankans have an uncanny knack of making the play-off rounds in world events. They do this on a regular basis.
They have been impressive in this tournament as well. They lost their first match but then came back strongly in their next two to qualify for the semifinal.
The clash between them and the high-flying Indians should be a good one. It is a repeat of the previous World Cup final.
India should win. Mentally I have the feeling that they have one over the Sri Lankans at the moment.
One player can turn the match in Sri Lanka’s favour and that is Lasith Malinga.
India have a very strong batting lineup but Malinga is arguably the most dangerous bowler left in the tournament. The best chance Sri Lanka have is if Malinga dominates the Indian batting lineup.
If India neutralise the dangerous Sri Lankan speedster they will take some stopping.
The result in the other semifinal match between England and South Africa tomorrow is hard to call.
The Proteas had a good win over Pakistan in the qualifying phase and did what they had to do in that dramatic tie with the West Indies.
They haven’t quite been at their best in the event yet. Winning these tournaments is about peaking at the right time and tomorrow will be the perfect day for AB de Villiers and his team to do just that.
If they can up their overall play by twenty per cent they have every chance of beating an England team who also haven’t been that convincing.
England’s strength lies in their bowling. Their bowlers have used home conditions well and this is the area the Proteas will put in a massive effort to counter.
There is pressure on the England team at home. They haven’t tasted success in ICC 50-over cricket events. Their attention may well be focused on the upcoming Ashes, but believe me having now made the semifinal they will be desperately keen to get over the line.
I have a feeling we are heading towards a South Africa v India final.