Cricket lovers in India and Pakistan and global viewers (larger in size than the Super Bowl watchers) expect the Sunday encounter between the two neighbors to be “mother of all cricket matches”.
Title-holders India will play arch-rivals Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final after winning handsomely against Bangladesh by nine wickets at Edgbaston on Thursday.
India achieved the target of 265 against Bangladesh with ten overs to spare.
Pakistan made the final by stunning England by eight wickets in their semi-final in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Sunday’s match at the Oval in London will be just the second time the Asian giants (neighbors) have met in the final of a major International Cricket Council tournament. Thier tussles are the most-watched in cricket and among the highest audiences for all world sports. And they have not played a Test match since 2007 or a bilateral series since 2012-13.
Experts say cricket lovers in India and Pakistan and global viewers (larger in size than the Super Bowl watchers) will be glued to their TV screens and laptops, as the expect the Sunday encounter between the two neighbors to be “mother of all cricket matches.”
India beat Pakistan by a mere five runs in the 2007 World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg, a victory that led to the creation of the lucrative Indian Premier League. They have however never contested a global 50-over decider.
Commenting on the India vs Bangladesh match on Thursday, Chairman of Pakistan Super League (PSL) Najam Sethi tweeted: “How ironic! India & Bangladesh don’t play with Pakistan in a bilateral series. Today both slugging it out to play with Pakistan in CT!”
India’s victory was essentially driven by Indian captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who shared a partnership of 178 runs to power the title-holders to the finals of Champions Trophy.
Rohit Sharma completed his century and was not out on 123 while Virat Kohli remained not out on 96.
Kohli became the fastest cricketer to score 8000 runs in ODIs, reaching the mark in his 175th innings and jumping ahead of South African captain AB de Villiers who took 182 innings to reach the milestone.
Fielding first, the Indian side restricted Bangladesh to a total of 264. Kedar Jadhav, the part time off-spinner, removed Bangladesh top scorer Tamim Iqbal on 70 and Mushfiqur Rahim on 61.
Sourav Ganguly (200 innings) and Sachin Tendulkar (210 innings) are now third and fourth in the list.
According to sports commentators, India will start as favorites on Sunday, especially after they trounced Pakistan in their opening game of the tournament. However, Pakistan have steadily improved and were brilliant in dumping out highly fancied hosts England. While Pakistan has had the best bowling attacks in the tournament, India has one of the best batting lineup.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim (wkt), Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Kedhar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaspreet Bumrah