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India vs Pakistan Final, ICC Champions Trophy 2017

18 Juin 2017

On the eve of the ICC Champions Trophy final against arch-rivals Pakistan at The Oval here on Sunday, India skipper Virat Kohli hinted at playing the same combination in their quest for defending the title.

Prior to this summer's Champion's Trophy, Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel told reporters that India would not play Pakistan in any future non-tournament fixtures, while cross-border "terror from Pakistan" remains.

His four innings, including three not outs, have left him with a colossal tournament batting average of 253 heading into the final.

With Pakistan's front-line pacer Mohammad Amir declared fit to play in the final after sitting out the previous match, he alongside new ball bowler Junaid Khan will be the key against India to provide their side with early breakthroughs. "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 there certainly had been a void for a period of time".

The surprising absence of new-ball swing throughout this tournament will likely make Pakistan's task of early strikes hard, especially on a surface at The Oval that is traditionally favourable to batting and has hosted two 600-plus run matches already in the tournament.

But then calculations went haywire in both groups. "Be bowling as a team, and hopefully the results will come", he added.

On Wednesday they knocked previously unbeaten tournament hosts England out of the competition with a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Cardiff. A lot of that training was dominated by fitness drills. Betfair is one registered online gambling company that hopes to gain big profit in the CT17 final.

The set-pieces will be significant in terms of the match on Sunday.

Pakistan, it must be remembered, were no serious contenders to even advance beyong the group stages, let alone qualify for the Champions Trophy final. He is perfectly capable of the banana swing, although the white ball hasn't swung much in UK.

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The rivalry between the two neighboring countries dates to 1952, just five years after independence, when India and Pakistan played their first test series.

The title holder India is the favorite for the trophy, which is fresh from two back to back dominant victories against South Africa and Bangladesh. Since that 2009 win, though, Pakistan have lost seven in a row.

"The guys are under no illusion as to what the expectation is on them, but they're genuinely excited".

On hindsight, the IPL seems to have done a world of good to the Indian players. "Now, we have the support of the entire nation", he said.

"We were awful", Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur says.

"The loss against India in Birmingham was an aberration".

"We finished our preparation today with a good chat just before we came down to the ground".

The Pakistan cricket team captain in the end thanked supporters for placing confidence in the squad and backing them all the way to the final of the tournament. The fielding was sloppy, the bowling didn't stick to the game plan, and the batsmen didn't run well between the wickets.