India wary of mercurial Pakistan in Champions Trophy finale

Sunday, 18 Jun, 2017

Sunday's match up will be the first final between the two sides in a decade, following 2007's nail-biting World Twenty20 final that saw India defeat Pakistan by a mere five runs.

They will go into the final on the back of seven straight wins against their bitter rivals, whose last victory against India came in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy.

Former captain Aamer Sohail has denied inferring that any foul play was behind Pakistan's shock wins in the ICC Champions Trophy in England.

India will face Pakistan in Sunday's Champions Trophy final before flying out to the Caribbean where they face West Indies in the opening ODI at Queen's Park Oval on June 23.

But then calculations went haywire in both groups.

Both teams have come into the event, on the back of some interesting results in the Group stage.

Ganguly said he believes India will be under no pressure as numerous players have played in big tournament finals before.

But on Friday, Sohail claimed that he never accused the national team of fixing matches and was only criticising Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed for not dedicating the win over Sri Lanka to legendary batsman Javed Miandad, whose birthday fell on that day.

The India vs Pakistan Champions Trophy final will be streamed online on Hotstar. "They've beaten sides that looked really strong against them, but the belief just showed on the field [with] the way they played together as a team", he told reporters after Thursday's game. He is perfectly capable of the banana swing, although the white ball hasn't swung much in UK.

Will India play two spinners once again?

India's bowlers aren't too far behind, but they got a massive helping hand from their fielders (against South Africa) and a part-timer (Kedar Jadhav against Bangladesh). This is easily the highest tally by the top three of any team in this tournament - England's 483 is the next highest, while Pakistan's aggregate is 406.

India, with skipper and star batsman Virat Kohli heading the tournament batting averages with a stratospheric 253, are a formidable outfit. Early wickets will expose the middle order which has not been tested.

"If Pakistan is winning, then why bring up references to match fixing?"

On hindsight, the IPL seems to have done a world of good to the Indian players. "My advice to Sarfraz for the final is simple - take all decisions wholeheartedly and without any fear whatsoever", he said.

"The loss against India in Birmingham was an aberration". I know there are people that expect the team and myself to do well every time that we play, but I understand as a player and as a person that it's not possible.

"If you do something wrong we will say it and if you do something right we will appreciate it. Keep yourself settled or you wouldn't last for long".

India may be the form team but this Pakistan team is a galvanised lot under an intelligent captain Sarfraz Ahmed.