Pakistan will take on India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday and it will be a chance for Pakistan to take revenge for the humiliating defeat earlier in the tournament when India comfortably beat Pakistan by 124 runs.
However from that day on the Pakistan team has turned a corner defeating the number one ranked team South Africa, Sri Lanka and the tournament favorites England. Pakistan’s semi-final win was particularly impressive as they outplayed England in all three departments; batting, bowling and fielding. England, considering as a batting powerhouse were restricted to a meager total of 211 runs, the feat was even more impressive considering that Pakistan were without ace pacer Muhammad Amir, who sat out due to injury.
For an unpredictable team like Pakistan the target of 212 also seemed challenging as previously Pakistan struggled against Sri Lanka when chasing a target of around 20 more runs. However, if Pakistan’s bowling was clinical the batting line put in an equally clinical effort, with Pakistan comfortably achieving the target with 8 wickets to spare.
The final against India will be challenging for Pakistan. Although of the 128 ODI matches played between the two teams Pakistan have a clear upper hand winning 72 against India’s 52. However in the last ten matches India has managed to defeat Pakistan on seven occasions. Of the last ten matches 3 matches were played outside sub continent, two matches in Birmingham and one in Adelaide, India won on all three occasions. Pakistan despite their upward trajectory in the tournament will go into the final as underdogs but this is where we are at their best.
For Pakistan captain Sarfraz picking the final eleven will be tough choice. Pakistan’s top six players in the batting order have a pretty much guaranteed spot in the final (unless forced by an injury). Tournaments top wicket taker Hassan Ali and pacer Junaid Khan are also pretty much certain to start. But Rumman Raees’ brilliant debut performance will mean that Sarfraz will have to pick three from Amir, Rumman, Shadab, Imad and Faheem Ashraf. The final selection will also depend on the pitch condition but this tough choice is something that Sarfraz will enjoy. Having options to choose from is never a bad position to be in.
Of the field the match between the two sub-continent giants has already begun, with television transmissions and social media wars underway between Indian and Pakistan. The final promises to be a cracking event and one that we hope Pakistan will win.
Sarfraz has plenty of options to choose from for his final eleven against India.