A blockbuster Sunday is up for the making in top flight cricket as India shall be locking horns against arch- rivals Pakistan in the finals of the Champions Trophy at the Oval in London. Billed as the ‘Mother of all Cricketing rivalries’, the India-Pakistan clash is more than just a game of cricket.
The result of this high-voltage clash has a direct bearing on the happiness index of the nation. The billions of passionate cricket fans from both nations would be hoping that their team emerges victorious on the green turf, thereby giving a sense of boost to their cricketing pedigree and uplifting their national pride. What makes this clash ever more mouth-watering is the old foes are clashing in a final of a major trophy after nearly a decade. The two sides last met in the finals of the ICC 2017 T20 World Cup in which India edged past Pakistan in a nail-biting thriller.
India hold the aces ahead of the mega clash
India shall be going into the match as the favorites both on form and the quality of players they have at their disposal. India have a much more experienced and balanced side than their counterparts with a galaxy of match winners. Led by their batting ace Virat Kohli, the Indian team has gelled well as a unit with both their batting and bowling coming good in the tournament. The Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have consistently been among the runs, providing solid foundations for the team.
Meanwhile, the middle order with loads of experience in Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh have chipped in with valuable knocks. Ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been electrifying with his fielding and complimented R Ashwin well in the spin department. But the biggest plus for India in the tourney has been their pace attack which has bowled with pace and venom to run through the batting order of most of their opponents.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017, IND vs PAK, Final: Just another game of cricket for us, says Virat Kohli ahead of marquee clash
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s run to the final has been a story of a resounding comeback by a resurgent side. Although the Pakistan team doesn’t have the same pedigree as the Indians, they have been some notable performances by their young opener Fakhar Zaman, leggie Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali and seam duo of Mohammad Aamir and Junaid Khan which sparked up the team’s journey to the finals.
Record at Champions Trophy
Defending champions India would look to add a record third ICC title to its kitty and Pakistan would look to win its maiden Champions Trophy title. India have been crowned champions twice in 2002 and 2013 while Pakistan yet to clinch the title have made it to four semi-finals before this edition.
India has maintained a stranglehold over Pakistan at major ICC events, having never lost to them at the World Cups. However, Pakistan has tasted success against India at the Champions Trophy winning two of the four games against them. In the last two encounter between the two sides, India inflicted a crushing 124 run victory over Pakistan at Edgbaston, Birmingham on June 4.
Road to the Finals
India topped Group B and booked their place in the semis by securing impressive wins against South Africa and Pakistan in the group stages. However they were given a reality check after being stunned by Sri Lanka in one of the group games. India then went onto decimate Bangladesh in the semi-finals to book a place in title clash for the fourth time.
After losing their opener against India by a huge margin, Pakistan made a resounding comeback in the tournament upsetting South Africa and overcoming Sri Lanka in a nerve racking encounter. Pakistan then went onto stun hosts England in the semi-finals to sail into their maiden final.
Head to Head (All One Day Internationals)
Total Played - 128
India Won - 52
Pakistan Won – 72
Head to Head in Champions Trophy
Total Played - 4
India Won - 2
Pakistan Won – 2