EVEN a compulsive gambler might think twice about having a flutter on tomorrow’s World T20 final between England and the West Indies.
The match would appear too close to call, with both sides equally capable of winning.
But if England bowl and field as well as they did in their semi-final victory over New Zealand, when they restricted the Kiwis to 64-7 in the last 10 overs of their innings, that could well make the crucial difference.
The respective batting units look similarly explosive, with the likes of Jason Roy and Jos Buttler on one side and Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons on the other, so it could well come down to which team performs the best with the ball.
Against New Zealand, Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes bowled some tremendous yorkers at the end of the innings.
They kept their cool under pressure, while England’s fielding and catching – previously a problem – was superb.
If England can contain the West Indies as they contained New Zealand, then their batting power can take care of the rest.
However, it only takes the likes of a Gayle to have a red-letter day as he did against England earlier in the tournament, when the self-styled “Universe Boss” took them for a 47-ball hundred, and any side could suddenly be blown off course in the game’s most unpredictable format.
In many ways, England are already winners regardless of the result at Eden Gardens.
They have won back the hearts of the public after their dismal showing at the 50-over World Cup just over a year ago in Australia and New Zealand.
Back then, England were embarrassingly exposed in a format of the sport in which they had clearly been left behind.
They were playing a style of cricket that was many years past its sell-by-date.
But that tournament was a line in the sand and the catalyst for the transformation that has followed.
A positive new coach was appointed in Trevor Bayliss; the captain, Eoin Morgan, was allowed to stamp his authority on the side; the selectors started to pick the right players, and England basically ripped up the script and started again.
Consequently, they began to play the type of bold and fearless cricket that has been consistently proven to produce results in the modern era.
It took them a while, but England finally caught up with fashion.
What this tournament has shown, beyond any doubt, is that England have some excellent white-ball cricketers – not least the four Yorkshire players on view, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey.
Paul Collingwood, who led England to the 2010 World T20 title, and who is now a batting coach with the England squad, believes the present team are in a different league to his own world-beaters.
“In the past, our line-up had one or two match-winners,” said Collingwood.
“This whole team are match-winners; if one player doesn’t come off, we still have many opportunities to win the game.”
Collingwood also paid tribute to the much-maligned county game, with England having reached the final despite the fact that few of their number have experienced franchise cricket; only Morgan, for instance, has experienced the glitz and glamour of the Indian Premier League.
“County cricket gets a hard word in terms of how much quality there is, but it produces very skilful players,” he added.
“We play for six months on different surfaces, and it is a crash course in different skills.
“Far more than anywhere else in the world.”
That is not to say that our own T20 Blast is a wonderful competition that explains England’s progress to the final.
In many ways, it is as out-of-date as England’s one-day cricket was until they grabbed it by the scruff of the neck last year.
England still needs a Big Bash-style tournament rather than the present model to maximise T20 and pull in the crowds.
Youngsters should be watching these exciting England players and overseas stars in a revamped English T20.