The script has been written: Sachin Tendulkar will score his 100th
international century on his home ground in Mumbai to clinch the World Cup for
Would you bet against that happening?
After all, the Little Master ensured that he did not reach the historic landmark against Pakistan, albeit after having to give his wicket away on four occasions before he was finally dismissed thanks to plenty of fielding ineptitude.
As the old saying goes, 'no side that drops the great Tendulkar four times deserves to win a cricket match' - and Pakistan's display in the field did not warrant a place in the final.
Not only was Tendy dropped on four separate occasions, but he also should have been stumped by prolific fumbler Kamran Akmal, officially the worst wicketkeeper to have played international cricket, and survived an lbw dismissal courtesy of the TV umpire.
Surely the 37-year-old, who has a penchant for gracing the very biggest stages with a 'Sachin special', will muster yet another inspired knock from his locker to inflict upon Sri Lanka and give his country the silverware it craves?
Putting all conflicting patriotism aside, many would agree that the
perfect World Cup final has now been finalised after India joined their
equally joyous co-hosts Sri Lanka in the 2011 showpiece.
like New Zealand before them, contributed a great deal to the
tournament in reaching the semi-final stage, but the Indian dream is
still alive and that has to be a good thing for the tournament as a
Tendulkar is not the only man who will be expected to demonstrate once again why he is a legend of the game: the great Muttiah Muralitharan will be playing his final international match, and will have his own lofty ambitions.
Murali was carried around the Colombo outfield on Tuesday by his adoring team-mates in front of his equally adoring fans, and who would count against him bowing out with a second World Cup crown to his name?
The unorthodox spinner has mesmerised, bamboozled, and bewildered international batsmen the world over since 1996, and his inevitable battle with Tendulkar will be truly mouth-watering.
Who will win the battle of the legends: Tendulkar v Muralitharan? Who do you see winning the final between India and Sri Lanka? Post your views below...
Here is a collection of photos from one of the most colourful, enthralling and exciting days of cricket you are ever likely to see...
Everyone got to the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium early to assume
their positions in the stands, not least this fine quartet of pom-pom-laden supporters...
The vuvuzelas, horns and rolled-up ICC programmes employed as makeshift trumpets were out in force too...
This fella was on a stag do when he woke up to find himself covered in paint and seemingly rebranded as a naked MS Dhoni. Strange...
The throngs of crazed Indian supporters created more noise than a heavily inebriated Eric Hollies Stand at Edgbaston, particularly after a Tendulkar boundary...
SHOT OF THE DAY: Umar Akmal (pictured below - and no, he's not heading the ball) unfurled a staggering, swashbuckling pull shot to deposit a short ball from Ashish Nehra into the top tier of the stand over midwicket with aplomb. Then he got out.
STAT OF THE DAY: In
three of the past four ODIs where Tendulkar has made a century, India have NOT
won. The Little Master knew exactly what he was doing in revisiting the pavilion with 85 runs to his name.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "I'm
a cross between Fergie and Jesus and sumtimes take the form of a unicorn!" (England paceman Jade Dernbach has tweeted his way to a random drug test tomorrow morning.)
DERANGED CELEBRATION OF THE DAY: The Turbanator is never shy of a crazed celebration, and here he provides his best offering - it really is something...
CONTRIVED HANDSHAKE OF THE DAY: Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warms the palms of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the pair provide the press with the photograph they all wanted in Mohali.
USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Everyone has talked about how massive a rivalry India v Pakistan is, but I think Sri Lanka v India is bigger as the fans there are absolutely nuts! The final is going to be crazy..." (Jameson builds the hype ahead of the final.)
COMING UP: The final: India take on Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday as two of the co-hosts meet in what should be another raucous and enthralling subcontinent encounter.
Who do you fancy to win the final? Post your predictions below...
CAPTION COMPETITION: Bjwam's very clever
word play sees him clinch yesterday's caption contest. Here is today's
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Sri Lanka