|Event:||ICC Twenty20 World Championship 2007/08|
DateLine: 23rd September 2007
Former cricket great Wasim Akram is expecting an "explosive" Twenty20 world championships final on Monday between traditional South Asian rivals India and Pakistan.
Akram tipped Pakistan to win in a thriller in Johannesburg, saying their bowlers had an edge over India.
"Young players from both India and Pakistan promise an explosive Twenty20 final," said Wasim, who played for Pakistan in their only World Cup win in 1992. "Both the teams have looked great in this competition," he told AFP.
After a clinical Pakistan performance saw off the challenge of New Zealand at Cape Town in the first of two semi-finals on Saturday, India recorded a stunning victory in Durban against the previously all-conquering Australians.
"I think Pakistan's bowling give them the edge as Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul and Sohail Tanveer are bowling very well and they would make life difficult for the Indian batsmen," said Wasim, who has a world record of 502 one-day wickets.
Wasim also praised captain Shoaib Malik and commended the Pakistan Cricket Board for appointing him.
"If he stays fit and keeps up the good work, I see this Pakistan team winning the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent," he said.
Malik was handed the Pakistan captaincy in March following the team's first round exit from the World Cup in the West Indies, a failure which forced Inzamam-ul Haq to resign as well as quit one-day cricket.
"Youngsters always bring a fresh approach to the team and this young Pakistan team has a bright future," said Wasim.
Wasim said fans would also be delighted to see different teams in the final other than world number ones Australia.
"Fans had got bored of one-sided dominance of Australia and teams from India and Pakistan have given a new lease of life to cricket and these teams can go places and dominate world cricket," he said.
India beat Australia by 15 runs while Pakistan outclassed New Zealand by six wickets to set-up an intriguing final in the inaugural tournament.
The former left-arm paceman said Australia was destined to struggle after the retirement of legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne and paceman Glenn McGrath.
"Once Warne and McGrath retired, it was a matter of time before Australia would struggle and they will find it tough to beat India in India and also struggle to get 20 wickets in a Test outside Australia," said Wasim.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)