India and Pakistan ready for Champions Trophy battle royal

  • India and Pakistan ready for Champions Trophy battle royal

India and Pakistan ready for Champions Trophy battle royal

Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman responded to the pressure of opening against arch-rivals India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday with a brilliant maiden one-day global hundred before falling for 114. Zaman and Azhar attacked the Indian bowlers from the word go and played fearless yet sensible cricket in the high-intensity clash against their arch-rivals. Let that sink in for a minute.

"I don't see any relevance of the first game because you can never tell how a particular team start a tournament".

So, with that in mind, Sunday just got even bigger.

Can India claim Back to Back ICC Champions Trophy's or will Pakistan upset the favourites? "It's no surprise, you ask anyone, he or she will put India in the hot seat tomorrow", India's number one Test wicketkeeper Saha said on the sidelines of a CAB first division league match on Sunday. "I think the Pakistan team has some good players who could be match-winners".

Forget what happened in their opening fixture, this is all that matters.

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India and Pakistan have not played bilateral series since 2012-13 and have met only in ICC events. Though form and history favour India, the resurgent Pakistan side have the capability of upsetting India.

Title-holders India, set 339 to win, collapsed after Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Amir removed the top three batsmen - Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and captian Virat Kohli. That is the key. I therefore feel we must bat first if we win the toss. If the unsafe left-hander gets into his stride, Pakistan could be in some trouble.

We saw a stroke of brilliance with his captaincy in the way he used Kedar Jadhav's bowling against Bangladesh. But little did they know that they would get another chance to rejoice.

India vs Pakistan final to start at 3 pm IST. "What is important is how many players do you have in your team who are willing to put up their hands and perform on that day".

An often undervalued part of this India team is its fielding unit. The target for Pakistan was revised to 324 from 48 overs.

Put into bat, the Men in Green had a ideal start as both Azhar Ali and Zaman shared a 128-run opening stand to put their team on road of a massive first innings-score. And Nasser Hussain reckons the pitch will be a good one.

"Our strength has been the fact that we've been able to take wickets, and we've been able to take wickets consistently through the middle periods", added Arthur.

The left-hander wasn't overawed by the occasion, and looked totally comfortable on the big stage. And now the whole team lines up to touch their foreheads to the ground.