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Pandya's dismissal of Tamim came a few days ago, in the semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy.

The teams meet again on Sunday in the final, an obviously bigger occasion. It's easy to say that India are better than Pakistan.

"I am sure it will be a well-contested final", he said. But when it comes to winning, it is only India. The end result was embarrassing.

"That's because we were beating them and he didn't score many runs which quite often brings out the emotion and aggression in people". But we've got to look at our strengths, and our strength has been the fact that we've been able to take wickets consistently through the middle periods.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur confirmed pace bowler Mohammad Amir is fit to play at The Oval after missing the semi-final against England with back spasms. "We have the attack to restrict them or defend against them". The defending champions know defeat will be seen as unforgivable failure back home - Pakistan, despite all their superb cricket in the last three games, are the lowest ranked side in the tournament and go into the match decidedly as underdogs.

"If you drive into nearly any city in India, you will see his face appear on every other billboard", he said. I think it will be a very interesting game. But we've closed the chapter on that. India are the outright favourites for the final no doubt, but the Pakistan camp is still hopeful of an upset and is pinning their hopes on the bowling department to show them the way. For Pakistan, it is a chance to avenge the humiliating 124-run defeat in the opening match and to regain the lead in head-to-head clashes in the Champions Trophy.

It will require some serious batting performance from Virat Kohli & Co to overcome the target. "We've practiced the same way from the first day we came here".

Even when Azhar Ali ran himself out, it did absolutely nothing to stop the runs. There wasn't any drop of intensity or something extra. They fell well short, and were bowled out for just 164.

As cricket enthusiasts all over world are anxiously waiting for the battle, an air of unusual excitement can be felt among young cricketers across the country as they wish the Indian players all the luck for today's match.

"You have to make that sort of effort to stay in a good zone and a good mindset".

Even before the tournament, India seemed like full-strength squad, and numerous cricket experts were backing India to reach the semifinal. But isolation has stymied Pakistan.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have sprung a lot of surprises throughout the tournament.

"History can change, and I hope we can (change it)".

  • Julie Sanders