Champions Trophy 2017: India favourites but bookies expect tough Pakistan fight

When arch rivals India and Pakistan cricket teams face each other in the final of the Champions Trophy in England on Sunday, it will only be the second time in 10 years that both the countries will meet in the final of a major ICC tournament.

Pakistan have already "closed the chapter" on their trouncing by India in the group stages of the Champions Trophy and intend to prove the point in the final.

"They are ranked higher than us - so everyone is talking about India, India".

June 17: pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood feels that his team has nothing to lose in the high-octane Champions Trophy final against India and it would be the Men in Blue, who would be under pressure at The Oval on Sunday. Shoaib Malik tries to keep Pakistan's hopes alive along with captain Sarfraz Ahmed, but once that partnership is broken, India scythe through the rest of the batting lineup to retain their title. India has since refused to play Pakistan outside International Cricket Council events.

"I have been privileged to play alongside Virat Kohli in the last six Indian Premier League tournaments and, as his team-mate at Royal Challengers Bangalore, have seen at first hand not only his extraordinary skill as a batsman but also the energy and intensity that he brings to the game".

"They have to connect with things that really matter - things that a sportsman needs to take care of in the build-up to a huge occasion".

"Obviously it's a big game and there's a lot of expectations. That's why I will always put India in front", the 32-year-old stumper said.

People have poured out in hundreds on the streets in jubilation whenever Pakistan won a match against India.

All logic points to an Indian victory but nomadic Pakistan are never more risky than when they "cornered" and could provide a final twist to a tournament that has been blighted by bad weather and one-sided games.

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As data suggests, India holds 13-2 win-loss record against Pakistan in ICC tournaments.

"I don't see any relevance of the first game here because you can never tell how a particular team starts a tournament", Kohli said on Saturday.

"Some teams start tournaments very confidently and then they fade off".

Amir, however, has once again become a mainstay of the Pakistan team since returning to the side early in 2016, appearing in 47 of the team's 57 matches across all worldwide formats following his comeback. Everyone is aware of the talent they have - they can beat any side in the world.

"That's the kind of belief he has in his ability and we have that belief in him". But at the same time, we're neither intimidated by them nor are we arrogant about what we are doing.

Kohli, speaking on the eve of the first meeting of the sides in a 50-over global final and one expected to draw in 300 million television viewers in India alone, remains wary of his side's status as favourites.

He said: "Our biggest challenge is to stay off social media".

"Not looking to change too many things because I would any day back a guy like Hardik, who provides you so much balance in conditions like England".

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