Home team, home conditions and home expectations is a very deadly combination. While it could make a hero out of you, if not dealt with in the right away, it could cause serious havoc. England had all the right to see themselves in the Champions Trophy final. They had been playing some brilliant One Day cricket and were in sync with their home conditions as well. But one thing that they could not embrace well was the ‘fire of expectations’ that the ‘home crowd dragon’ was breathing. On a pitch that wasn’t a minefield, the English batsmen limped to a meagre 211, with none of them putting their hand up in adversity.
And isn’t it the umpteenth time that England have failed to make their mark in a world event? The fear of loss, the burden of expectations, the uneasiness of handling pressure is known to get the better of them on the big day, and that is exactly what transpired in Cardiff last night. You can cut them some slack and say that everyone is entitled to a bad day, but when these excuses start surfacing, you know you are talking about a good team and a not a great one. Probably this English squad isn’t ready yet, but when are they going to be?
Pakistan would be ecstatic with their performance, having received a drubbing at the hands of India at the start of the tournament, and then somehow clawing their way back in the event and ultimately knocking the home team out of the tournament. If Pakistan play like Pakistan in the final, we could be in for a topsy-turvy one for sure.
Going by the way the first semi final went, India would be extra cautious about Bangladesh’s threat, but maybe that is something they shouldn’t do. Once you start concentrating a little too much on your opposition, you lose track of what you yourself are doing. India need to keep it simple today, in order to keep their love affair with Bangladesh the way it is.
Bangladesh have revenge on their mind. They would have fond memories of the 2007 World Cup group game but other than that Bangladesh have had to play second fiddle every time they have taken on India, especially in a world tournament.
They would take heart from the fact that they almost tipped India during the World T20, and it was only a collective brain fade that led to them surrendering the game.
Let’s get to business now!
Fandromeda Fantasy Tips on the next page: