Birmingham: Putting behind the turbulent phase of the past few weeks, a red-hot India are standing on the cusp of winning their second straight world title as they take on hosts England in the summit showdown of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday. (JPN/Agencies)
The reigning World Cup winners roared into the title clash of what will be the last edition of the tournament, winning all their four matches with consummate ease under the astute leadership of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
In a contest where the exuberance of youth will lock horns with the fineness of tradition, the 'Three Lions' on the other hand will be gunning for their first major 50-over international title in their own lair.
India are defending World Cup champions
Joint winners with Sri Lanka in the 2002 Champions Trophy in Colombo, India are the defending World Cup champions and the No. 1 team on the latest ICC rankings.
But reputation and numbers will have little significance in a match, where skill and mental toughness face an acid test at the Edgbagston.
England aim to exploit home conditions
England, who have lost in the finals of both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy over the past two decades, will aim to exploit home conditions against a new breed of carefree Indian cricketers who have taken the tournament by storm.
While India have breezed through to the final, England have shown their die-hard character by lifting themselves several notches in key matches.
England thrashed Proteas to reach final
The hosts thrashed South Africa by seven wickets in the tournament's first semifinal at The Oval on Wednesday but more than the margin of victory, the team's ability to bowl out a decent batting line-up in less than 39 overs would have given the English bowlers a big shot in the arm.
Indian batsmen in ominous form
India's batting has been in ominous form. Except for the tournament opener against South Africa on June 6, India have never batted beyond No. 4.
India's opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has prospered in every game, but it is not their run-making that has impressed the purists. The temperament to treat the good deliveries with respect and play out the first 10-12 overs without any overdose of adventurism has stood India in good stead.
Young bowlers look to exploit unfamiliar conditions
As far as bowling is concerned, the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja have been admirable in unfamiliar but helpful conditions. Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashin, too, have been instrumental in swinging the momentum India's way on a few occasions.
Shikhar Dhawan remains top scorer in CT 2013
While India have relied on the dashing Dhawan, the left-hander has scored a tournament high of 332 runs in four innings with back-to-back centuries, England continue to tow the traditional batting path, where grammar gains precedence over flamboyance.
Pitch, toss to play crucial role
England's biggest strength is their pace attack. The troika of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn are more than a handful in seaming conditions and therefore, the nature of the Edgbaston pitch and the toss will be critical in Sunday's final. With rain forecasted over the weekend and conditions likely to stay overcast, the English quickies will fancy their chances.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.
Match starts at 3 PM (IST).
Birmingham: Putting behind the turbulent phase of the past few weeks, a red-hot India are standing on the cusp of winning their second straight world title as they take on hosts England in the summit showdown of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.