Dhawan vs Anderson
Shikhar Dhawan is living a fairytale after his spectacular Test debut against Australia earlier this year. Anything he touches is turning into the proverbial gold, and one wonders what was it that kept the left-hander from excelling in the few ODIs he had played for India before the memorable knock against the Aussies.
Nevertheless, all that’s a thing of the past and Dhawan has displayed tremendous skill and temperament in the current Champions Trophy, and with two tons and a couple of half-centuries, the Delhite has easily been the best batsman of the competition.
India will be hoping that he can continue in the same vein in the all-important clash today, but things will certainly not be easy. For, he will be up against the experienced James Anderson, who is in terrific form in the tournament.
The paceman has already accounted for 10 batsmen in 4 matches and the prodigious swing he generates can prove a handful for anyone. Is Dhawan game for the challenge?
Dhawan: Matches 4, Runs 332, Avg 110.6, 100’s: 2, 50’s: 2.
Anderson: Matches 4, Wkts 10, Strike rate 12.7, Economy rate: 3.84
Cook vs Bhuvneshwar
The England skipper was in imperious form during their tour of India late last year and he’s easily their most feared batsman. Cook has been outstanding in the Champions Trophy as well, and he’s the man who will hold the keys if England are to win their first major ODI trophy.
The left-hander has hit a couple of half centuries and accumulated 159 runs in four games. As far as today’s clash is concerned, Cook will be facing up to a bowler who has known little failure in his short international career, and that’s where Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be at his most dangerous.
He has managed to trouble every opposition with his accuracy and controlled swing. Indian fans will be praying that youth will triumph over experience in this battle.
Cook: Matches 4, Runs 159, Avg: 39.75, 100’s: 0, 50’s: 2
Bhuvneshwar: Matches 4, Wkts 6, Strike rate 32.0, Economy rate: 3.68
Rohit vs Finn
The key factor that has helped India stay unbeaten in the competition is the form of their openers. While Dhawan has won most of the accolades, Rohit Sharma has literally grabbed this opportunity with both hands.
For too long, Sharma has walked around with the tag of a batsman who has not done justice to his talent. But his performance in the Champions Trophy could help dispel that notion.
That said, he will be up against Steven Finn, the paceman who can leave many a batsman in trouble, thanks to the disconcerting pace he generates. At 6’7’’, he’s easily amongst the tallest bowlers in the world today and negotiating him will test Sharma to the hilt.
Sharma: Matches 4, Runs 168, Avg: 42.00, 100’s: 0, 50’s: 2
Finn: Matches 1, Wkts 1, Strike rate 48.0, Economy rate: 5.62
Jadeja vs Root
Like Dhawan, Jadeja is going through a remarkable phase, and his performance has silenced all his critics who flayed the player for being in the Indian team merely by virtue of being MS Dhoni’s friend.
He has shown a lot of spunk in the tournament so far, taking 10 wickets, at a miserly 3.51. He will be expected to keep things tight once again in the middle overs.
On the other hand, Root will be aspiring to press the accelerators in front of the home crowd. He has already impressed everyone with his batting and the controversy surrounding him and David Warner seems to be a thing of the past.
Jadeja: Matches 4, Wkts 10, Strike rate: 22.2, Economy Rate: 3.51
Root: Matches 4, Runs 166, Avg: 41.5, 100’s: 0, 50’s: 1
Dhoni vs Tredwell
Thanks to the brilliance of the top-order, the Indian captain has not got much of an opportunity to display his range of strokes in English climes. But if the hosts cause early damage, Dhoni could well be called upon to launch a fight-back. He could well end up facing off-spinner Tredwell in the middle overs.
Tredwell enjoyed considerable success against the South Africans in the semi-final, taking 3-19 and could be hoping for similar success today.
Dhoni: Matches 4, Runs 27, Avg: 27.00, 100’s: 0, 50’s: 0
Finn: Matches 3, Wkts 4, Strike rate 31.5, Economy rate: 4.61