LONDON (AP) — Captain Alastair Cook is hoping to end England's 38-year title drought in 50-over world competitions by upsetting unbeaten India in the Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Sunday.
The opening batsman is trying to deliver the country's first 50-over trophy after four previous failures in finals. Since 1975, England has endured 16 failed campaigns in World Cup and Champions Trophy events.
"I can see no reason why we can't do it tomorrow," Cook said Saturday. The Ashes are looming into view but Cook views a long overdue victory at a world tournament as a pressing priority, saying "I can see no reason why we can't do it tomorrow."
England will hope that they can continue their run of dominant wins, especially after its surprisingly comfortable seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the semifinals. The Indians, however, are regarded as the clear favorites due to their impressive run in the Champions Trophy. They will be hoping for a continuation of the prolific form by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma near the top of the order.
Dhawan, in particular, has been among the tournament's best players, scoring 332 runs so far, 110 more than next best. First-wicket partner Rohit Sharma has been on top form himself, the pair together combining for an aggregate of 200 runs more than English counterparts Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.
The two Indian openers have put together exactly 500 runs between them in the four successive victories that have taken India to the final. However, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is wary of the new-ball threat of James Anderson, especially in his home conditions. His side has struggled consistently against England's premier fast bowler in the past, notably in the test whitewash in England two years ago.
Since then, India have had a string of victories against England, most recently at the start of the year. "Our top order have done well and played some of the best bowlers in world cricket so far in the tournament," Dhoni said. "So I think they are quite well-prepared for the English bowlers."