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18 Junio 2017, 04:01 | Gerardo Tarin
Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam
It was here that India lost their only match of the tournament so far, when Sri Lanka shocked them last week by easily chasing 321 for six - with seven wickets and more than an over to spare. And the record favours India by 13/15.
It is Pakistan's first appearance in a 50-over global final since the 1999 World Cup in England - where they were beaten by Australia - and Arthur said it would mean a lot to the country if they won. For instance, if one bets Rs 100 on India, and Virat Kohli'steam wins, one will get back around Rs 147, according to Betfair. Each one of them has scored over 250 runs in the tournament so far, with Dhawan and Rohit being the top two run-getters with 317 and 304 runs respectively.
Reigning champions India are the favourites, having launched their title-defence with a 124-run thrashing of Pakistan at Birmingham's Edgbaston on June 4.
Pakistan have surprised many to reach the final of CT17, a tournament it very almost failed to qualify for.
Kohli will be cast centre stage as India captain in front of a mere 24,500 sell-out crowd at The Oval, and his primary task will be to keep his composure at the crease and in the field as the overwhelming favourites bid to retain their title.
"India and Pakistan will continue to play at worldwide tournaments, but neither India plays in Pakistan nor Pakistan plays in India", far-right Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said.
Much has been made of the contest between India's magnificent top three and Pakistan's threatening pace attack. Both Virat and Sarfraz have been the winning captains of Under-19 cricket World Cup teams.
On pure cricketing logic, Pakistan are no match for Virat Kohli's men, who have some of the best exponents of limited overs cricket. That's the kind of players they have, and that's the kind of ability they have in their side.
"We had the mantra "we want to get to London". But I can tell you one thing - we have come to win", he added.
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. While two of India's most experienced campaigners - Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni have not had many opportunities to bat longer, the two have notched up a fifty each when they had a chance.
Coach Mickey Arthur said he always had faith his team could do the unthinkable.
The Indian batsman has been clicking on all cylinders, displaying masterful performance throughout the tournament especially the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, giving India a flawless start, putting up scores on the board and pressuring the opposition bowlers.
Their batsmen are in prime form, and any total in excess of 300 would heap the pressure on a Pakistan side well aware of their frailty against India in the big games.
· Pakistan have reached a Champions Trophy final for the very first time; they knocked out England in Cardiff by a margin of eight wickets to get there. They took the game on.
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