The clear favourites to contest the final; Australia unbeaten and England having lost only their rain-affected encounter in the lead-up to the final. Interestingly, Australia's semi-final victory aside, neither side has been pressed either. Australia's miracle in the semi-final looked more impressive on the scoreboard than in practice. The chase was ragged and out of control; the batsmen - particularly White - reaching for sixes every ball, when twos and fours would have been enough.
Unlike Australia, England have regularly given up scores between 140 and 150. While their batting has been comfortable chasing targets of that magnitude, Australia are more likely than other teams to make them to chase 160 plus. Like most games amongst the test teams, the expected margin is much smaller than random deviation, but on every measure - man-to-man match-ups, ratings, form, and past matches - Australia start as favourites.
Finish with two wins and four losses for the tournament, which in some eyes makes them unworthy semi-finalists. The perennially asterisked West Indies-England game aside, Pakistan went closest to beating the two finalists in the three games they lost to them, losing the other by just a run. Were probably extremely unlucky in the semi-final, but lacked the extra bit of spark in the field, and the nerve in the final few overs to enter a third final.
Like Pakistan, Sri Lanka lost against England, Australia and New Zealand to exit. Unlike Pakistan, their batting was fragile and they were comprehensively outplayed by England in the semi-final. Were dragged through the tournament by Jayawardene and looked second rate when he failed.
Idle Summers 17th May, 2010 00:19:19 [#]