Now that the two T20s are over and India have finally managed an away win in some format we can look forward to over a month’s worth of ODIs! I hope you’re all as excited as I am about the prospect of 15 one day internationals. After all, no one got bored senseless after five of the seven match post-Ashes ODI series so the best thing to do is double that number and make sure that four of the matches will be between teams about whom the locals do not care.
Looking at the teams, I can’t see anyone other than Australia winning. Australia did not have the same dip in form in the shorter format as they have had in Test matches, and they are still difficult to beat at home. They won the short series against South Africa recently, and going back farther beat England even after being hammered in the Test series. They did not do as well in the World Cup, but will have the advantage of the conditions this time.
The more (but still not very) interesting question is who they will play in the final. India have finally broken their overseas duck, but almost anything can happen in a T20. They still have a lot of questions to be answered about their batting in foreign conditions, however, none of the problems they had in the Test series will entirely vanish in the shorter form, even if their bowling may tighten up. We saw in England that they still struggle, even against a decidedly mediocre ODI side and I expect them to struggle playing Australia.
Sri Lanka are punching above their weight right now, I’d say. Their players have not been paid properly for quite some time now, and eventually that will take a toll on even the most committed cricketer. The fact that they still managed a famous win in Durban is a massive credit to their spirit. They are another side, however, who have not been threatening outside the subcontinent, losing the ODI series in England and South Africa.
The second finalist will probably be decided by the winner of the head to head matches between India and Sri Lanka and those will be interesting, if sparsely attended. Neither side is suited to exploit the weaknesses of the other side in the conditions. I would expect Sri Lanka to win though, they have shown more fight recently and I think that will count for a lot. Ultimately, I expect Australia to beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the finals.