India vs Pakistan – 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Final Preview
India vs Pakistan, The Oval – London, Sunday 18 June, 1030 (BST)
The accountants at the ICC will be brimming like Cheshire cats today with confirmation it will be India vs Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Final.
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Pakistan trail their bitter Asian rivals 2-13 in ICC global events, including a heavy loss in the group stages of this very tournament; they will undoubtedly be underdogs for Sunday’s showpiece at The Oval. However, the tag of underdog is something Pakistan will relish, they were in the same shoes when they swiftly dispatched hosts England in their semi-final in Cardiff earlier this week.
It’s clear Pakistan lack the big hitting firepower of the Indians but with Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali in fine form plus the rising star of bowler Hasan Ali; it would be naive for Virat Kohli’s men to underestimate the challenge.
On India’s part, chasing Bangladesh’s 264/7 was made to look like a leisurely training exercise. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma look a formidable opening partnership and complement each other nicely. Kohli himself had the platform to play within himself and feasted on some time in the middle under very little pressure. India may have a slight concern that they’ve dominated matches to such an extent that their middle and lower order batsman have rarely been seen; the great finisher MS Dhoni has mostly been able to put his feet up and watch from the comfort of the pavilion.
BCCI remain the great dictators to ICC patsies
It’s something of a mockery that politics dictates that these 2 great cricketing nations only ever meet during ICC events, can it really be a co-incidence that they always meet the group stages with a chance to meet again in a final? Incredibly there has been no bilateral series between these great rivals since 2013 and no sign that the stubborn BCCI will change this most famous of their many ignorant stances that dictate the global game to their own means. The ICC who’s remit is supposed to be to govern and grow the game globally are essentially a bunch of patsies; petrified of what the BCCI might do next – remember the reports just weeks ago that India may not even take part in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy due to a cash dispute with other ICC members? Conveniently forgotten until the next ‘issue’ the that the greedy BCCI under the stewardship of CEO Rahul Johri arises.
India vs Pakistan served up a memorable final on the one occasion they’ve met in an ICC showpiece before, the year was 2007 when India claimed the ICC WorldT20 in South Africa by just 5 runs. Just as Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq looked to upset the odds, Sreesanth (listen to our podcast) took a catch which gave a billion people the reason they needed to fall in love with Twenty20 cricket and almost certainly the conception of the IPL which began in 2008.
MS Dohni was instrumental that day during his first tournament as Indian captain; he was even more so in the 50 over format when he lead his country in such convincing fashion to the 2011 ICC World Cup. He’s no longer the captain, but as his career approaches the veteran years; it seems to be destiny that this legend of the game will once again play a pivotal role on who’s hands this trophy ends up in.
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