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Warne's prediction or conspiracy theory

Only one person in the world was not surprised when England and India shared a 676-run feast at the World Cup that ended with a heart-stopping tie off the last ball.

cricket Updated: Mar 01, 2011 13:56 IST

Only one person in the world was not surprised when England and India shared a 676-run feast at the World Cup that ended with a heart-stopping tie off the last ball.

Shane Warne is a man who could do wonders with the ball but who could have guessed the Australian spinning genius was also an amazing soothsayer?

"Looking forward to the game between India and England today (Sunday) should be a cracker. My prediction a tie!" Warne tweeted before the Group B match on Sunday in Bangalore.

For everyone else, there was sheer disbelief at the result.

But it was not long before England and India fans began weighing up the 'what ifs' about a match that had more twists and turns than a Dan Brown thriller.
* What if an in-form Stuart Broad had not missed the match with a dodgy stomach -- then England could have restricted India to a lower total.

* What if the wayward James Anderson (1-91) had not given away four wides in the last over when India were batting?

* What if England had chosen to delay taking their powerplay by another two overs then skipper Andrew Strauss (158) and Ian Bell (69) would surely have scored the extra run.

* What if India's batsmen had not adopted such a cavalier approach towards the end of their innings when they lost seven wickets in the last five overs?

* What if Munaf Patel had grounded his bat inside the crease in that sprint across the pitch to make that final run count? Even TV footage initially flashed up India's total as 339 before bringing it back down to 338 all out.

* What if India's innings had not folded in the penultimate delivery of the Indian innings -- that extra ball could have yielded the crucial run.

* What if Bell had been given out lbw in the 25th over while on 17? Hawkeye, millions on television viewers, and Bell saw the ball pitch in line, hit in line and predicted to knock the middle of the middle stump. Umpire Billy Bowden trusted his eye more than any technological verdicts and stuck to his 'not out' decision.

So the list goes on and on.

It was a match which both teams deserved to win -- or lose -- but ended up sharing the honours.

Strauss said he was "happy" and "distraught" in equal measure, a sentiment echoed by his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"Both teams will be a bit disappointed but they will be relieved to take one point," he said.

But the man who had predicted the result right from the start could not stop himself from having the last word.

"Before u (you) think there was something untoward re-prediction of a tie, thought it was going to be a cracker -- tie (prediction) was tongue in cheek -- but right,"Warne tweeted after the match, no doubt grinning from ear to ear.