The Cricket World Cup final pits India vs. England was quite similar to Pakistan tour of England 2020 that was full of action and suspense. However, the semifinal probably generated more hype since it put the Indians against. But although it felt like a championship match, it was only the second to last game of the tournament. Just as the 1980 U.S. hockey team still had to play Finland after beating the Soviets, the India-England finale serves as the actual championship match for the home team.
Wednesday was a day of celebration all around India, as it reached the championship match with a convincing 29-run win over arch-nemesis. What’s more, it meant that they would play in Mumbai for the title, which gave them even more of an advantage. However, there is still one more team that they have to defeat.
England is a fellow co-host, although its road to the cricket championship has been much quieter. It rose to second place in Group A, then defeated England in the quarterfinals, and New Zealand for the second time, in the tournament’s other semifinal.
It was easy to look past that opening semi, in the midst of all the India- hype. Likewise, it could be easy for the Indians to look past the final, especially if they’re still on a high from winning on Wednesday. However, with all of Mumbai pulling for them, it may be easier to avoid a letdown.
However, it has become easy to expect the unexpected in the tournament. Since the final has India and England and doesn’t have three-time defending champion Australia, that is a notable surprise in of itself. A new order emerged in this event for the first time this century, as Australia finally lost, and the likes of, India, England, and South Africa rose back to the top.
This has also been a tournament where Ireland upset England, days after the English salvaged a rare tie with the Indians. In addition, two of the co-hosts are playing for the crown, while fellow host Bangladesh missed the quarterfinals altogether. No one went undefeated, so anyone was vulnerable to almost everyone.
Although a new champion will be crowned, these two nations have been here before — just not in a long time. England was the last country other than Australia to win it all, in 1996. But the home team has been waiting impatiently since 1983 – the third edition of the tournament – to get back here.
India-England is certainly an ideal final to end the World Cup, at least to those in Mumbai. Yet it won’t be truly ideal for them unless the hosts win, to put a cap on their memorable week.