Wounded Pakistan look to overcome India for final glory

As India and Pakistan gear up for Sunday's riveting ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final at The Oval here, Afridi felt bilateral matches needed to be restarted which, according to him, will help in "reducing tensions".

India appeared to be a clear favourite of bookies on Friday but not by a large margin.

India will go into the final with a 14-2 winning record against the Green Brigade in all major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments. And what are the chances Pakistan might pull off one last upset?

De Villiers, who is now struggling with a poor run of form despite being at the helm of the number one ODI team, said that Kohli is able to cope with the extreme pressure that comes with being captain of the Indian cricket team.

Although gambling is illegal in most parts of the country, Indians can lay their bets through United Kingdom websites through their global credit cards and e-wallets, said Landers.

Of the 15 previous opportunities Pakistan have had against India in the ICC limited-overs encounters, they were able to win just two.

The question ahead of the game is which Pakistan would turn up: Will it be the side that dismantled England or the side that so terribly lost against India in their opening match?

No matter how well Pakistan play against other sides, they seem to lose the mental battle even before they step on to the turf against India.

De Villiers characterised Kohli, who struck an unbeaten 76 in last Sunday s eight-wicket win over South Africa, as "being a consummate surgeon at the crease".

This will be the fifth time India and Pakistan will have a face off in the Champions Trophy; the record is now balanced with two victories apiece. Pakistan's economy rate has dropped from 6.64 to 4.46 since that first game, and it would be interesting to see how this new-look attack will fare against the tournament's best batting side. "My advice to Sarfraz for the final is simple-take all decisions wholeheartedly and without any fear whatsoever", he said.

Seeing many in the social media attacking him for his freakish statement, the former opener tried to clarify what he actually meant, but has only tied himself in knots, saying Pakistan owe their victories to the prayers of the fans and God.

"India's strength is playing spin".

Imran's teammate and close ally, Javed Miandad said the Champions Trophy final could prove to be the gateway for restoration of bilateral cricket series with India.

"We are really encouraged by the support of fans here and back home, we will give our best to make them feel happy".

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav.

  • Julie Sanders