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18 Junio 2017, 11:20 | Gerardo Tarin
The group match of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 between Pakistan and India was said to be the most awaited cricketing event of the year by cricket pundits, but the final clash has gone even one step ahead in terms of anticipation and excitement, as the battle is now for the championship along with the prestigious rivalry.
Pakistan, the lowest-ranked team at the Champions Trophy tournament, upset host and favourites England to set up a final with defending champions India, feeding a frenzy for a game that commands a fanatical following in the region and among its diaspora.
While it could be tempting to tinker with the bowling attack, considering Pakistan's right-hander-heavy batting line-up, India would remember that their only defeat in the tournament came at The Oval, where Umesh Yadav's expensive spell forced them to bring in Ashwin in the first place.
"If I talk fair than yes India at this time has a better team and more depth but I always believe that in a big match it is the moment that matters", he said. I hate to say this but India-Pakistan games extend beyond cricket ground. "I believe in my abilities, and I feel like if I am good enough, if I am technically good enough, I should be able to counter any bowler that's bowling to me", Kohli revealed his pre-game drill.
"But the way Rumman Raees came in and bowled, it showed we have the bench strength".
It was interesting listening to Virat Kohli in a press conference recently talking about his team maintaining its composure and controlling its emotions in big games.
"We have seen a lot of happiness in our country and (our fans have) supported us through this tournament".
Fans who want to watch the India vs. Pakistan cricket match live online can go to Sky Go in the U.K., Hotstar in India, or through Sling for those watching on Willow in the United States or Canada.
India have won all three of their previous matches with Pakistan in the knockout stages of International Cricket Council tournaments to date but Mahmood, 42, said there was no reason why the sequence had to be extended this weekend as well. "I don't think the middle order not being tested is something to worry about", the skipper, who himself has been in sublime form had said earlier.
"I am sure Team India will win. They are better than Pakistan player to player but I think they could get complacent and this could work to Pakistan's advantage". "So everyone is aware of the kind of talent they have in their team, and on their day they can beat any side in the world". They are intimidating opposition bowlers with their class and breathtaking stroke-play.
"But, at the same time, neither are we too intimidated nor are we too arrogant about what we are doing". "If you drive into nearly any city in India, you will see his face appear on every other billboard".
Syed Talat Hussain, political analyst at Pakistan'sGeo Television, told The Associated Press that the Pakistan-India final is a "is a softer version of a war".
"The biggest thing is to stay off social media".
"Honestly, it sounds amusing, but it's so important to stay away from those things, to connect to things that matter", said Kohli, 28. While it is true that this is only the 2nd ICC competition final the two have taken part in together (2007 World T20 being the first), there have been 8 other finals of different types and denominations that have been played between the two cricket-crazy nations.
"Cometh the Hour Cometh the Man" is an old adage which fits in perfectly with Indian captain Virat Kohli's cricketing philosophy as he reveals how he visualises hard situations and formulate strategies.
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Sarfraz Ahmed said that Pakistan team is "indebted to millions on social media" for supporting the team throughout. But Kohli, understandably confident in his own team added: "I don't know there's much that we need to change".
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