London: The video game that constantly’stops two countries’ is hours away as title-holders India face Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final at London’s Oval ground on Sunday. And the question millions of cricket fans worldwide, possibly even a billion, are all asking is ‘which Pakistan will turn up?’. Will it be the team of their opening group match at Edgbaston on June 4, a 124-run thrashing by arch-rivals India, where some frequently senseless bowling and timid batting were only outdone just in their ineptitude by woeful fielding throughout an overall performance identified “shambolic” by Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur?
Or will it be the slick, experienced side who hammered England by 8 wickets in the semi-finals, with Hasan Ali, the competitors’s leading wicket-taker, spearheading a dazzling bowling effort as the previously unbeaten tournament hosts were dismissed for just 211 before the likes of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman assisted knock off the runs in dashing style?When it comes to assessing most groups, the temptation is to take a look at their latest outcome as a kind guide.But not just have Pakistan, the most affordable ranked group in a tournament featuring the world’s leading eight one-day worldwide sides, long been regarded as world cricket’s most “unforeseeable” outfit, they have lost all three of their previous knockout matches against India at International Cricket Council competitions.
“We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose– the pressure is more on them (India),” Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood told reporters at the Oval on Friday.
“But I can tell you one thing– we have actually pertained to win,” the former all-rounder, who spent a number of seasons with Oval-based Surrey, included ahead of Pakistan’s first match of the tournament at the ground.
“History can change, and I hope we can (alter it).”
The Oval was where, back in 1882, England’s defeat by Australia resulted in a mock obituary in a paper describing the “ashes” of English cricket and hence the name for all future Anglo-Australian Test series.
But few would contest that India-Pakistan is now the world video game’s premier contest– certainly not the ICC who, by their own admission, now repair the draw at their occasions to ensure the Asian giants fulfill in the group phase.
“It is massive,” insisted Azhar. “It is bigger than the Ashes– and expectation is high from both nations, insane about cricket.”
Pakistan might make one modification if Mohammad Amir, who missed the semi-final with a back spasm, is fit.Yet such was the kind of replacement left-arm quick Rumman Raees, who marked his ODI launching with two wickets, it is by no methods certain even a fully in shape Amir will come directly back into a side that has actually been well-led by Sarfraz Ahmed, in fine type as both wicket-keeper and batsman.India, with skipper
and star batsman Virat Kohli heading the tournament batting averages with a dizzying 253, are a powerful outfit.As well as Kohli, their batting line-up
boasts the similarity dynamic opening set of Rohit Sharma, fresh from a hundred against Bangladesh, and Shikhar Dhawan with Yuvraj Singh, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya to come in if needed.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 versus Bangladesh, likewise able to chip in with helpful wickets.Yet it was at the Oval where India suffered their only defeat of this tournament so far when Sri Lanka ferreted out
a target of 322 to win by 7 wickets– and Pakistan’s preference is to bat second.” The turn-around has been spectacular, “stated Kohli of Pakistan’s march to the last.”They have actually beaten sides that looked really strong versus them.”But Kohli, naturally positive in his own team added: “I have no idea there’s much that we need to alter.”If we concentrate on our abilities and our
capabilities and think in ourselves, we’ll provide ourselves a chance to do some good ideas for the team.