Which way will the pendulum swing?
India have played with commendable passion to reach the final of the World Twenty20 Championship, but Pakistan have enough firepower themselves to douse the fire.
India have won tight games against Pakistan, England, South Africa and even Australia. They have shown tenacity and grit throughout, regularly fighting out of tight holes. Dhoni's message to the players to just enjoy the moment seems to be working too.
India have a bunch of fearless batsmen. Somebody or the other is playing a pivotal role in every game. Twice it has been Yuvraj Singh, once each Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni have sizzled as well. Maybe, they are cool as long as they don't have to worry about saving their wickets.
For a change, the Indian fielding has looked sharp, both in the circle and on the outfield. The seamers, especially Rudra Pratap Singh and Sree Santh, are loving the pace-friendly conditions in South Africa. While RP and Sree are giving breakthroughs, Irfan Pathan is playing the support act well. And then there is Harbhajan too.
Mohammad Asif, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul have been in superb form. India lost almost half their side to this trio in their earlier encounter. In the final, if India lose early wickets again, a recovery may not be possible. Especially as Afridi will be lurking in the middle overs.
At various stages in the event, it has become evident that the bowlers can lose control of the situation, especially when under attack. The other worry is over the fifth bowler. Joginder Sharma did well to hold his nerve against the Aussies in the last over in the semis, but he stays the weak link. Sehwag and Yuvraj could be thrashed as well.
With the entire country, or rather the entire subcontinent, involved, the pressure on the team has finally multiplied. The stakes have gone sky-high. Overawed by the occasion, the fielding may become fragile, or even fall apart. Worse, they have played most of their matches in Durban. They haven't felt the Wanderers' bull-ring, unlike Pak.