ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Advantage India in high-stakes final

Ruben Hill
June 19, 2017

Kohli does not want his side to be "over excited" before the summit showdown while Sarfraz admitted that his team is "excited and motivated to perform well". India's dominance extended to the rest of their tournament run, where they scored a tournament-best 1098 runs en route to the final.

Despite Azhar's confidence, the weight of recent history is strongly in favour of India to defend their Champions Trophy title. "We dissected India a lot before the game at Edgbaston, and we've backtracked a little bit on that now and sort of solidified what we did really well, in terms of our batting, in terms of our fielding, and building on that". It's hugely important from an ICC point of view.

The cricket's governing body had its wish fulfilled as the arch-rivals clashed in their opening game. It is poetic that in their final match of the tournament, Pakistan must overcome their Indian rivals. No team has the guarantee to win. They are intimidating opposition bowlers with their class and breathtaking stroke-play. From Virat Kohli to Shikhar Dhawan, all the players were trained hard.

Sarfraz's answer was different as he spoke about the motivation in his young team having reached the final after a sound thrashing by India in their first game. When he bowls well, it's a total relief for me as a captain because he can get you seven good overs. The turnaround has been magnificent. People are just doing the normal things that they do.

Team India captain Virat Kohli at training ahead of final against Pakistan.

They also have a well-balanced attack, with new-ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah supported by contrasting spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja, with the like of Kedar Jadhav, as he showed against Bangladesh, also able to chip in with useful wickets. "In the PSL we're getting all our top players rubbing shoulders with some of the best players around the world, so that is rubbing off on our cricket now, where certainly there had been a void for a period of time".

An upbeat Indian side posted 309 runs batting first in a rain-affected match.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur: "They've [his team] been outstanding, the way they've prepared, the way they dragged themselves off the canvas after the beating at Edgbaston [against India], was unbelievable".

Pakistan's strength, as it has always been, is their bowling with young Hasan Ali shining bright. While Fakhar, with his audacious strokeplay at the top, has been a revelation, Babar Azam's lack of runs is a worrying factor. And whenever the others have got the opportunity, they have delivered.

With one of the pre-tournament favourites in India taking on the lowest seeds in Pakistan, who have not made an ODI final since 1999, this contest is set to add another chapter to the intense rivalry between the two sides.

Pakistan doesn't have an impressive record against India in ICC events.

Pakistan has surprised everyone in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after being ranked eighth coming into the tournament and was well and truly beaten in its first match against India.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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