AASIF SHEIKH — It’s Sunday, and everyone is not able to sleep as in some countries it’s the 23rd night of Ramadan. People are praying for themselves and also for the big match which is not just big for India and Pakistan but for the whole cricketing world.
It is a day off across the world except in the Gulf and the Middle East, however I am sure they will all be glued in different ways and places to watch the match and be connected.
Let’s do a recap of indvPak: Both teams have played together before tomorrow. Both have played 128 ODI’s where India has won 52 and Pakistan 72 with 4 matches being draw or no result. Records are records and history is history which all can change though.
In Champions Trophy, both have played 4 matches and are sharing equally as 2-2.
Indian players in focus are: Virat Kohil, S. Dhawan, Rosita Sharma MS Dhoni and Yurjav Singh. India has a very strong batting line-up, almost all players can bat — but for sure until 8 – 9 they have strong batsmen.
Pakistani players in focus are: Hassan Ali, Junaid Khan Mohammed Aamir, Imad Wasim, Mohammed Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed.
One of the best bowling attacks with Junaid and Aamir and Hassan coming in the middle although in the first game Hassan was not at his peak but right now he is the leading wicket-taker.
What to expect? Both teams want to chase the total but tomorrow it may be different. If Pakistan play to their strength they will bat and pile up a total which they will try to defend with their bowling. India will chase the total regardless of what the pitch conditions are as they know their strength which they have proved over the years, so they will do this.
The unexpected final everyone thought would be was IndvEng but now it is IndiavPakistan. The tickets are sold out. Even the Englishmen are not selling their tickets but want to watch the biggest clash in the world, it goes even without saying, more than the Ashes.
Both captains will say their is no pressure and it will be just another game but trust me it is not as you see in the media in home countries. They are already hyped up and painting it to a level where it looks as though it’s world war 3; the behaviors of both nations towards the game of sport is totally different as the Blue takes on the Green.
Everyone has been saying until now that India is favorites to win the #CT17 tournament but also have gut feeling that Pakistan might just change the history and this may be the case on Sunday as history could be re-written.
In my view toss is not a consideration as it is already known what both teams want to do. Question is how they both deliver their roles and there will be lots of aggression on the field and each player will react and show aggressiveness towards each other so this means umpires have to be on the toe to watch out.
The final match is being played in Oval, so the crowd will be well-managed by the ground security as I am sure more staff will be called in as backup.
No matter who wins the final of the Champions Trophy 2017, it will be a great match and final to watch and ofcourse my vote is for Pakistan to make a change by winning it!
Good luck to both teams and at the end let cricket win!
The author is Riyadh-based Pakistani cricketer, coach and a freelance sports writer.