ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Virat Kohli labels Pakistan's comeback as amazing

"The more relaxed you stay in these kind of situations, it's a good thing, because it helps you take better decisions when you are composed and calm mentally, and you can help the team come out of hard situations only if you're thinking in that fashion". You need to back guys like him on a regular basis and you will get those results where the team is in crisis and he stands up and gives a match-winning performance. "India have a very good batting line-up and if they put up a big total, it will bring pressure on us".

Despite Azhar's confidence, the weight of recent history is strongly in favour of India to defend their Champions Trophy title.

The tense relationship between the nations means India have only played one bi-lateral series against Pakistan since the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 and adds more spice to what should be a spectacular occasion. It's hugely important from an ICC point of view.

But Sarfraz, who has had a fine tournament in his triple role of captain, wicket-keeper and batsman added: "You saw how well we bowled in the "death overs" against South Africa and also Sri Lanka".

The cricket's governing body had its wish fulfilled as the arch-rivals clashed in their opening game. A loss against India, a rain-helped win against South Africa and suddenly the eighth-ranked side is in the final of the tournament.

The neighbouring countries have moved on from years of political conflicts but emotions will run high as millions of supporters around the world watch the first major cricket final between the teams since the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup.

"That's the kind of players they have, and that's the kind of ability they have in their side".

Earlier this month, Indian news channel Zee News said it's not covering Pakistan and India games in support of Indian soldiers. "Before the Edgbaston game I thought they were really, really calm, but they're very, very excited now, and there's a hell of a good vibe in that dressing room".

"The turnaround has been magnificent", said Kohli of Pakistan's march to the final.

"I know there are expectations, I know there are people that expect the team and me to do well every time we play", Kohli told reporters at the Oval yesterday. "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". The neighbours from the other side of the border has just two things to bank on... the law of averages and if luck helps them and the Indian batting suffers a meltdown. While two of India's most experienced campaigners - Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni have not had many opportunities to bat longer, the two have notched up a fifty each when they had a chance. Fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who missed the semifinals because of a back spasm, will play.

Spearheaded by Hasan Ali who has picked up ten wickets at the tournament, more than anyone else, Pakistan have an economical but deadly bowling attack.

  • Julie Sanders