World Cup final: Duels to watch

Published on Mar 22, 2003 05:42 PM IST

Key duels to look for during the World Cup final between Australia and India at the Wanderers here on Sunday:

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PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Johannesburg

Key duels to look for during the World Cup final between Australia and India at the Wanderers here on Sunday:

Sachin Tendulkar vs Brett Lee:

Sparks are bound to fly when the deadly Lee bowls his thunderbolts to the world's best one-day batsman.

Tendulkar, who has scored more one-day runs (12,215) and more centuries (34) than any batsman, has been in terrific form scoring a record 669 runs in the tournament.

Lee has led his country's attack, equalling Shane Warne's Australian record of 20 wickets in a single World Cup. He has worked up fiery pace even on the unusually slow South African wickets.

Tendulkar will be trying to hit Lee out of the attack just as he had done with Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar. Lee will be hoping to get the little champion out early to keep the Indians on the backfoot.

The first 15 overs of the Indian innings promises exhilerating cricket.

Sourav Ganguly vs Glenn McGrath:

If spared by Lee, India could still be stung by Glenn McGrath, one of the finest pace bowlers in the modern game.

It will rest on Ganguly, the elegant left-hander, to build the innings should Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag make an early exit.

Ganguly is only second behind Tendulkar in the list of leading scorers at this World Cup with 441 runs and three centuries.

McGrath may have been overshadowed by Lee's spectacular strikes, but the lanky bowler has shown his versatility and outstanding skills by picking up 18 wickets in this tournament.

When Ganguly is on song, he is a delight to watch and a nightmare for bowlers. McGrath will use his considerable guile to keep the Indian captain in check.

Zaheer Khan vs Adam Gilchrist:

The left-arm seamer has been one of the surprises of India's campaign with 18 wickets so far, equalling Roger Binny's Indian record in 1983 which helped Kapil Dev's men win the title.

Zaheer is not only bowling fast but maintains a good line and length as his three for 14 against Kenya in the semi-final will testify.

But the hard-hitting Gilchrist at the top of the order will be a different proposition altogether. The Australian wicket-keeper is one of the most exciting batsmen in the modern game.

Few can tear an attack to shreds like he does and the even-paced Wanderers wicket will be ideally suited to his aggressive style. The left-hander trying to smash the left-arm pace of Zaheer out of the ground will be a treat for the fans.

Javagal Srinath vs Andrew Symonds:

The veteran seamer has been a captain's delight in his fourth and last World Cup, picking up 16 wickets and leading the Indian charge with the young Zaheer and Ashish Nehra.

"I don't want those two to feel this old man can't bowl," said the 33-year-old Srinath who was persuaded out of retirement by Ganguly to spearhead the pace attack.

Srinath's experience will come in handy when Symonds blasts away down the order. The Queensland batsman has been a revelation in the tournament. His selection was slammed by the home media because of his indifferent form leading up to the World Cup.

But he silenced the critics with powerful knocks of 143 against Pakistan at the Wanderers on February 11 and an unbeaten 91 in the semi-final against Sri Lanka when Australia were down to 51-3.

Srinath and India know Symonds could be the man to remove early if Australia are to be restricted.

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