And the 2012 T20 World Cup champions will be...

Pakistan scary, but India is the team to beat

Abul Razzaq didn’t play a part Shahid Afridi did more harm than good, a needless run out, and they still chased down 186 with 5 balls to spare and 5 wickets in hand. 

This is a scary team.

No, but in my opinion, not the favourite.

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has led them well and for Pakistan all the means is a united team.

They have always had more talent than the rest.

Discipline and playing for each other have been the issues that they have struggled with.

Hafeez seems to have addressed both.

The only question remaining is: can they handle pressure?

Scoring 12 an over in a warm game is one thing, even if it is against the arch rival.

But will their batsmen keep their cool in a knockout game with the World Cup at stake? 

Pakistan are at their best when they are under-estimated. That will not happen this world cup.

India are still the favourites in my book, they are a tried and tested bunch and what they lack in the bowling is more than made up for with their batting.

With the exception of Sehwag, they are dependable chasers who thrive on pressure.

Then there is the  IPL experience, which for once, no will argue, works in their favour.

Lanka’s Malinga is still a power Slinga

We should ask Gautam Gambhir, with his wrist swollen after being struck by Malinga in the warm up game a couple of days ago, if he feels the Slinga is no longer a threat. 

Gambhir retired hurt, but x-rays revealed no fracture.

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni are the two Indian batsmen that have dominated Malinga over the last year, while we can’t ignore the unique abilities these two have, we should also not ignore how frequently Malinga misses his lengths when bowling to them.

Cricket has always had individual rivalries most often associated with a bowler having a batsmen’s number: Donald v Atherton, Warne v Culinnan,  Zaheer v Smith, Ajmal v Englishmen; but the reverse can also be true.

A batsmen can always have the edge over a bowler. 

These aren’t technical weaknesses that are being exploited,  if this were so, the entire cricketing fraternity would be able to do the same. 

With every match being recorded in HI-DEF, there are no secrets in cricket anymore.

No, this isn’t cricketing skill being questioned, these are mind games being won and lost.

The IPL is everyone’s favorite whipping boy, only global warming has not been blamed on it yet.

If all it took was facing Malinga twice over 45 days to figure him out, then every team should be able to do it in the last few matches of a best of 5 series played over a fortnight. 

The two new balls being used in ODIs has limited his reverse swing, but it is the  96 runs he conceded in 7.4 overs against Kohli that has done the most damage. 

Self-doubt is a sportsmen’s worst enemy and the Indians have taken full advantage of this.

Sehwag’s recent comments about Malinga were runs scored without a ball being bowled, well played India.

But champions eventually overcome.

I’m looking forward to Malinga’s response.

Writing exclusively for Emirates 24|7 Dubai resident and founder of cricketinc.com John Rajkumar offers his unique take on the World Cup. To play the Fantasy T20 World Cup Game click here

Read his opening cover drive: No great bowlers, so no great batsmen 

 

 

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T20 World Cup 2012