Wounded Pakistan look to overcome India for final glory
A wounded Pakistan will be out for revenge while India will aim to maintain their dominance when the arch-rivals meet in the final of the Champions Trophy cricket tournament at The Oval here on Sunday.
Pakistan have been badly bruised against India this series in their opening group stage match, having lost the game by 124 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method.
If the past record is anything to go by, India have always been the firm favourites against Pakistan in major global tournaments of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
According to statistician Mohandas Menon, the Indian team has an excellent record against Pakistan in ICC ODI tournaments, leading their arch-rivals by an 8-2 margin.
In all ICC tournaments including the ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20, the sub-continental rivals have met 15 times with India emerging victorious on 12 occasions. Pakistan have won twice while one match ended in a tie.
Pakistan have managed to bounce back in this tournament, defeating South Africa and Sri Lanka in the group stages and England in the semi-finals to book a berth in 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.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed will also look to use his team's bowling strength to do the damage against an in-form Indian batting line-up.
The spin duo of Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez alongside medium-pacer Rumman Raees -- who made his debut in the semi-finals -- will look to provide depth and variation to the Pakistan bowling line-up.
The batting department for Pakistan under the likes of opener Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman followed by Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez will look to flourish against India having got to good starts in the previous matches but failing to build lethal partnerships.
India, on the other side have looked a balanced side with both their batting and bowling departments having managed to click throughout the tournament.
India opener Shikhar Dhawan is the tournament's leading run scorer with 317 runs in four matches and will look to continue his momentum against Pakistan.
In-form Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have also helped their side look capable enough of chasing any target.
The bowling department for India under the likes of pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have looked solid bowling economically while providing clinical breakthroughs.
Captain Kohli will also look to use off-break spinner Kedar Jadhav -- who took two vital wickets in his previous match against Bangladesh -- alongside Hardik Pandya to deceive the Pakistan batsmen.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain and wicket-keeper), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Imad Wasim, Fahim Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail. - IANS