The T20 World Cup: Jekyll and Hyde Cricket
Will the 2016 T20 World Cup Final be pitch perfect?
It almost feels like there have been two separate tournaments taking place in India over the past few weeks, with thrilling, high scoring games dominated by big hitting batsmen at venues like Mumbai and Mohali and tense, low scoring affairs in cities such as Nagpur and Kolkata with batting sides constricted by spin and slower balls.
The England and West Indies sides both have stronger batting line-ups than bowling attacks, both sides feeling like they can reach any target set by the opposition. Scores of 190 and even over 200 have been chased with aplomb, run rates over 10 an over do not phase these teams. Yet in Kolkata they will be faced with a pitch where a first innings score 130 could easily be a winning score.
So which team is best placed to succeed on a slow, turning pitch?
England will go into the game with two frontline spinners in Ali and Rashid with Root as a back up and Topley should replace Plunkett as guile will be more important than pace. West Indies will probably pick Benn and Badree to try to stifle the English batsmen with slow bowling. The two finalists look quite even in the respect.
The West Indies team have more players with IPL experience which may give them the edge, an edge reflected by the bookmakers making them slight favourites to win on Sunday. However, England have Root who can play different types of innings on different types of pitches, with the patience to pace an innings on a difficult pitch.
However the final may come down to one simple equation. If England can dismiss Chris Gayle early then they will probably win. If they don't, they won't.
Will England win the T20 World Cup?