Cricket - Dhoni hoping for strong start

India are banking on a continuation of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma's prolific form at the top of the order in Sunday's Champions Trophy final against England.

PA Sport
Cricket - Dhoni hoping for strong start

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident India's in-form opening batsmen can handle England's attack

The two openers have piled up exactly 500 runs between them in the four successive victories which have carried India into their showdown with the hosts - and made them favourites to win at Edgbaston.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: "England are a very good team, especially the bowlers, (but) our top order have done well and played some of the best bowlers in world cricket so far in the tournament. So I think they are quite well-prepared for the English bowlers."

India's other strength in victories over South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and then Sri Lanka in the semi-final has been more of a surprise.

Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma have excelled themselves.

Dhoni, however, is hoping spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja can have an impact too.

"I think it's very important that they hunt in pairs, and I think that's what they have been doing really well so far," he said.

"When Jadeja puts the pressure on, Ashwin gets the wicket; when Ashwin puts the pressure, Jadeja gets the wicket.

"Both of them are very crucial for each other's success and for the success of the team."

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