The images linger. Kapil Dev, light on feet and brave of heart, plucked a sensational catch at deep mid-wicket to end a rampant Vivian Richards's tenure in the 1983 World Cup final at Lord's. You can freeze the frame.

Now, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's powerful team is just one match away from reclaiming the Cup of Joy. The host faces a formidable rival in the summit clash — the first between two sub-continental teams — of the ICC World Cup in Mumbai on a Super Saturday.

Will another moment of inspiration decide this final? Kumar Sangakkara, another wicketkeeper-batsman, leads a versatile Sri Lankan side of belief and ability.

With a gilt-edged opportunity to make history as the first side to win the World Cup on home soil, India cannot afford any slip up. Here, let's look at the protagonists and the conditions that could influence the contest.

The Malinga factor

The Indian batting is strong and in this context, the pace, precision and swing of Lasith Malinga could hold the key.

Malinga's unique sling action — his right arm is parallel to the ground at the point of release — makes it hard for the batsmen to pick him. In reverse swing, the ball moves towards the shiny side and batsmen watch the hand carefully to read movement. This is easier when someone has a conventional action.

In Malinga's case though, one half of the ball is covered by his palm and fingers while the other faces the ground. For the batsman, it is almost impossible to spot the shiny side.

The speedy slinger with a quick-arm action will be a distinct threat, particularly in the later stages of the innings.

The two legends

The timeless Sachin Tendulkar could, finally, be a part of a World Cup-winning squad. The maestro could also embrace the magical 100th international century on his home ground.

Muttiah Muralitharan, battling a host of niggles, was buzzing around at the nets in typical fashion on Friday morning; the champion bowler is likely to play. This will be the off-spin wizard's last international. What a stage to make an exit!

The presence of Tendulkar (464 runs in the competition so far at 58.00) and Muralitharan (15 wickets at 16.80) should lift their sides.

The Mathews blow

Sri Lanka will be without influential all-rounder Angelo Mathews in this high-pressure game. Mathews, nursing a quadriceps injury, has been replaced in the squad by off-spinner Suraj Randiv.

All-rounder Thisara Perera, already a part of the team, might come in for Mathews. The lanky Randiv, who has troubled the Indians in the past, could be in as the second spinner.

The conditions

There should be fair carry and some seam movement for the pacemen here. And the breeze from the Arabian Sea could assist swing. The Indian think-tank appeared veering towards playing three seamers in the final.

Ashish Nehra is out with a fractured finger and Santhakumaran Sreesanth could take his place. If the ball swings, Sreesanth will be in the business. R. Ashwin has bowled capably but the Indians are aware that the Sri Lankans are fine players of off-spin and are familiar with the carrom ball.

The toss

This is a surface where the team winning the toss has to back itself to survive a period of early assistance to the pacemen and put runs on the board. A total in excess of 250 might, indeed, be challenging.

The pitch does become slower in the second half and the fielding side has an opportunity to apply pressure. An improved Harbhajan Singh could be a factor on this track.

Zaheer and Lankan top-three

Openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan (467 runs at 66.71), Upul Tharanga (393 at 65.50) and No. 3 Sangakkara (417 runs at 104.25) have batted with an amalgam of flair and solidity. But then, India's Zaheer Khan (19 wickets at 17.57) could nail Dilshan, who has a tendency to shuffle across, with the one that comes in. The crafty left-arm paceman might probe the left-handed Tharanga and Sangakkara too with his ability to straighten or move the sphere away from them. With the gifted Mahela Jayawardene not in the best of touch, the Sri Lankan middle-order could struggle if India makes early inroads.

Sehwag, Yuvraj and Raina

Sehwag (380 runs at 54.28, strike rate 123.37) has a liking for the Sri Lankan bowling. He relishes the big stage too. Much like Sehwag, Yuvraj (341 runs at 85.25) can swing games. The left-hander has applied himself in pressure situations, been judicious with his stroke-play. When Yuvraj arrives, Sangakkara could bring on Muralitharan.

Suresh Raina and the batting Power Play

Raina has been calm and collected, gathered runs with timing and placements. He has made a difference. With him around, India has not imploded in the batting Power Plays. This time around, the left-hander could be up against Malinga during this crucial phase.

The teams (from):

India: M.S. Dhoni (captain), V. Sehwag, S. Tendulkar, G. Gambhir, V. Kohli, Yuvraj, S. Raina, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Munaf, Sreesanth, Y. Pathan, R. Ashwin, P. Chawla.

Sri Lanka: K. Sangakkara (captain), T. Dilshan, U. Tharanga, M. Jayawardene, T. Samaraweera, C. Silva, T. Perera, N. Kulasekara, M. Muralitharan, L. Malinga, S. Randiv, D. Fernando, A. Mendis, R. Herath, C. Kapugedera.

Umpires: S. Taufel & A. Dar; Third umpire: I. Gould; Fourth Umpire: Steve Davis; Match Referee: J. Crowe.

Match starts at 2.30 p.m. (IST)

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