ICC Champions Trophy: India wary of maverick Pakistan in high-octane final

Team India captain Virat Kohli

The Indian team thrashed Pakistan on June 4, many projected that Pakistan would crash out of the Champions Trophy without any resistance.

He has no doubt Pakistan can rise to the occasion. He wasn't off the mark as television advertising rates on Star Sports for June 18 cricket final between India and Pakistan are nearly 10 times the normal price, according to a media report.

"I really hope that we see resumption of bilateral cricket between the two countries and would request the Indian cricket board and the Indian government to soften their stance", Afridi wrote in a column for the ICC ahead of the Champions Trophy summit clash between India and Pakistan here tomorrow.

"We have to learn a bit more, how to stop runs on that sort of wicket". The Indians are the defending champions; powerful, purring and perpetual.

India, with skipper and star batsman Virat Kohli heading the tournament batting averages with a stratospheric 253, are a formidable outfit. "We are hoping that this time in the final we'll execute our plan successfully and the result will be different".

He's right. Their top three batsmen believe they can chase down anything: Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma lead the tournament scoring list and Kohli is fifth.

With two quality pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, both of whom have maintained less than five runs per over economy rate on flat decks, India have their bases covered.

The ICL may have forced the BCCI's hand but without the catalyst of a thrilling win in a major global final, and over Pakistan as well, would Twenty20 have taken off with fans and officials alike in India, cricket's economic powerhouse, in quite the same way? It marked the beginning of Mustafizur Rahman, who beguiled everyone including the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, and ended up picking 11 wickets in the first two games thereby capping a sensational debut series.

Their lineup is settled, with options, and all about execution.

"We have to [attack], we've got no other option", Arthur told cricket.com.au. We were No. 8 when we came here and no one gave us credit. That group victory was their 12th in 15 World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20 matches (also one tie) and so there's certainly the potential for mental baggage to be brought along.

As the South African coach sat in the stands of The Oval in south London on Friday, two days before his side takes on their oldest foe again in the final, he allowed himself a smile when asked if he could actually believe his team had managed to fulfil their tournament mantra after such a disgusting start.

"We were written off totally, and probably rightly so, after the Indian clash because we were shambolic".

"We have to (attack), we've got no option". "I'm incredibly proud of how we pulled ourselves off the canvas". "It is a mercurial team and this tournament has thrown up so many upsets so far", he added.

In the semi-finals, Pakistan bowlers - sans the services of their prime bowlers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir - tamed hosts England, who had till then not lost a single game quite like the 1992 side which downed favourites New Zealand to surprise all.

"He bowled today. He had no problem whatsoever".

These matchups have traditionally been a contest between India batting and Pakistan bowling. And how can Pakistan influence their qualification into a final?

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