India play Pakistan in buoyant mood, having just thumped Bangladesh in the semifinals and with their batsmen and bowlers looking in prime form.
They negotiated two knockout games quite well – the one against South Africa was a virtual quarterfinal – coping with the pressure without any problems. But then, the final, and that too of such a major tournament like the ICC Champions Trophy, is another matter altogether.
Add the fact that this final is against their biggest rivals Pakistan, it adds an extra layer of pressure.
Pakistan, like India, are also in great form, winning three matches in a row to get to the summit clash, and over those three games, they have shown they are a really dangerous side.
So, here are a few reasons why India need to be wary about Pakistan:
Everything about Pakistan at the moment must begin and end with Hasan Ali. What a terrific bowler he is turning out to be, and there is absolutely no doubt that if not for Hasan, Pakistan wouldn't be here in the final.
The fast bowler has taken ten wickets in four matches, with nine of those coming in the last three games. He has been the gunslinger for Pakistan in the middle overs, coming in when the batsmen are starting to feel comfortable, only to smash through them with his skiddy action and ability to move the ball in the air and off the pitch.
India played Hasan well in their first match, taking 70 runs off his ten overs, while giving away just one wicket, but the Hasan Ali in the final will be a different version – one full of confidence and a lot more potent.
Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan:
While these bowlers are really dangerous with the new ball, the bigger worry for India will be when they come in for their second spell, in between 30-40 overs, and start darting the ball around, particularly if it is reversing.
Amir and Junaid turned the match against Sri Lanka around in their favour by taking four wickets for just six runs, while Junaid was impressive again in the semifinal against England, picking up the crucial wickets of Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali.
India cannot go into the complacency zone during those middle overs, thinking the job is done.
Pakistan have been able to chase down targets in their last three games, thanks largely to the start given by Zaman. Since replacing Ahmad Shahzad, Zaman has given the Pakistan top order a much more dangerous look.
We all know what Azhar Ali brings to the batting order – solidity. With Zaman going hammer and tongs from the off, these two balance each other out really well. The India new-ball bowlers need to get Zaman out early in the Champions Trophy final.
Pakistan ?? v India ??Old foes meet once again for the final clash of #CT17 ?Who will you be supporting? #PAKvIND pic.twitter.com/l35nbeML9A— ICC (@ICC) June 16, 2017
Pakistan ?? v India ??Old foes meet once again for the final clash of #CT17 ?Who will you be supporting? #PAKvIND pic.twitter.com/l35nbeML9A
— ICC (@ICC) June 16, 2017
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