cricket20 :: Captians ready for dream final
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Captians ready for dream final


India and Pakistan aim to provide the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 with an exciting climax when they meet in the final in Johannesburg.

The two sides played out a dramatic tie earlier in the tournament, with India coming out on top after a bowl-out.

"There is nothing more exciting than an India-Pakistan match, so expect some fun," said skipper Mahendra Dhoni.

India will again hope for fireworks from Yuvraj Singh, while Pakistan will look to Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq.

The middle-order pair have been one of the main reasons for Pakistan's success in the tournament so far, although team-mate Shahid Afridi heads the overall player of the tournament standings for his 91 runs and 12 wickets.

Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad claims Twenty20 is not "real cricket" and has accused the International Cricket Council of trying to turn the game into baseball.

But that will not take any gloss off the occasion for the two sets of players, who have redeemed the reputations of their teams after both were eliminated from the World Cup earlier this year after the opening round, or their supporters.

"We are professionals, so we had to change ourselves," said Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik.

"The World Cup is history and we are just concentrating on this final. Things have been going very nicely and we are playing much better.

Pakistan expect opener Imran Nazir to be fit to play despite needing a runner in their semi-final win over New Zealand because of a groin injury.

As a result, their only selection issue is whether to keep faith with all-rounder Fawad Alam, who took 2-29 against the Kiwis, or revert to the more experienced Salman Butt or Yasir Arafat.

India could bring back Dinesh Karthik and Ajit Agarkar for the Sharmas - Rohit and Joginder - but their main concern is batsman Virender Sehwag, who has a similar problem to Nazir and will undergo a pre-match check.

But Malik admitted it was Yuvraj who was causing them most concern after his six sixes in an over against England and 70 off 30 balls in India's win over Australia.

"He has been playing superbly but, of course, we will meet and hopefully come up with some sort of plan for him.

"I have never seen batting like that before - he is in very good form," Malik added.

Opposite number Dhoni is delighted at the way his players have risen to the challenge and with the support he has received in his first assignment as skipper.

"We have been playing tough matches. We played against Pakistan, New Zealand, a do-or-die match against South Africa and then we beat Australia, so we have been under a lot of pressure, but you learn to deal with it," he said.

"We will treat the final as just another do-or-die match. You need to go on to the field and give 100 percent and not worry too much about the outcome."

Dhoni said he had already learnt that one of the keys to captaincy was an ability to keep a cool head in tough situations - and has stressed that approach to paceman Sree Santh, who was fined after the game against Australia for excessive appealing.

"You have to be calm when you make decisions that will have a big impact on the game. If you are calm, you have more chance of making the right decisions," he commented.

"If you're at school, college or any institution there are certain guidelines that have to be followed.

He's a talented cricketer and has got the skills to do well at international level. But if he doesn't use his head and gets himself banned for four or five matches it won't do any good for himself or the team.

"He can either learn the soft way or the hard way, but he will learn," Dhoni added.

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