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18 Junio 2017, 12:31 | Gerardo Tarin
Team India, the defending champions, registered their place in the Champions Trophy final after registering resounding nine-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second semi-final to set up another mouth-watering, high-octane clash with Pakistan in the finals.
Pakistan's rejuvenation has been built around the runs of young opener Fakhar Zaman and the experienced Azhar Ali, while Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan stepped up to compensate for the absence of Amir who is expected to be fit for the final.
Yet even by their own "unpredictable" standards, the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side's transformation since that hammering against the Men in Blue has been remarkable and they knocked tournament favourites England out of the competition with a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Cardiff on Wednesday.
"We will not play under any pressure, and the last record against Pakistan doesn't matter to us".
Mumbai: Bets to mint money have already placed on the two competing teams ahead of the face-off between cricket rivals, India and Pakistan, in the Champions Trophy finals on Sunday.
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. "Virat has learned to live with these realities... and also to accept the burden of unrealistic expectation that he should score runs every time he reaches the crease, and that his team should win every time they take the field", he said in the BBC interview.
"That was something we hadn't prepared for", he said.
India, however, does have an upper hand since Pakistan usually is on the losing side against India in ICC tournaments.
India and Pakistan rivalry is an open secret. Pakistan has clawed its way into the final whereas India has easily made it to the final.
"We finished our preparation today with a good chat just before we came down to the ground".
"It is just another game of cricket tomorrow".
"That's the kind of players they have, we're quite aware of that". "We have to (attack), we've got no option".
What seems to be working for India is the batting prowess of their top three - Shikhar Dhawan (317), Rohit Sharma (304) and Virat Kohli (253). "And let's be under no illusions, India are a fantastic cricket team at the moment".
"This (pressure) is a part of being an Indian cricketer, you have to find a way to deal with it".
"I've played with synthetic hockey balls outdoors, but never tried hockey".
"I look forward to playing as it's a big occasion", added Amir, now firmly back in the worldwide fold after his career was halted by a ban and jail sentence for his part in a 2010 spot-fixing scam during a Test against England at Lord's.
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Even keeping in mind that cricket is a game of glorious "uncertainties" one can safely predict that India start 80-20 favourites. The batsmen then had just to complete the formalities. "It was very disappointing to see that go wrong in the Indian game, but".
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