Kolkata: An India-Pakistan match is always a big one, despite the format and the situation. Both these teams have had quite contrasting tournaments so far leading up to the final- while India has had a very good time so far in the competition barring that odd game against Sri Lanka, Pakistan came back strongly after losing their first game to their opponents of the finals.
Mohammad Amir, who missed the semi-final game against England with a back spasm might come in for Runman Raees, who had a successful debut in the last match. Amir, one of the lead bowlers of the Pakistani attack would undoubtedly boost the attack and before the all-important game, he has already started playing mind games with the opposition.
The left-arm pacer said, “The India team relies on Virat Kohli and he will be under pressure because it’s his first big tournament final as a captain. There’s no doubt that his wicket will give us an advantage.”
The Indian skipper has had a splendid tournament with the bat so far with 253 runs so far with a highest score of 96* which came against Bangladesh in the second semi-final. As a matter of fact, he reached the milestone of being the fastest to get to 8000 ODI runs in this tournament itself, besides becoming the number one ranked ODI batsman.
The rest of the batting too has done wonders with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma occupying the first and second positions in the list of highest scorers in this edition of the competition with 317 and 304 runs respectively.
Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya came good in the first game against Pakistan themselves, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav did some harm with the bat against Sri Lanka. The entire batting unit has performed tremendously well and India would be mighty confident of their willow-wielders ahead of the final.
The turnaround of the Pakistan team has been one pleasing sight for their fans. After being thrashed by a 124- run margin in their first game against India, they came back hard and strong to register wins over the number one ranked ODI side South Africa, Sri Lanka and the heavyweight hosts England. This dramatic fightback by Pakistan in a short tournament as this has impressed the Indian skipper.
Said Virat Kohli, “The turnaround has been magnificent..They’ve beaten sides that looked really strong against them.”
However, he maintained that they should focus on their strengths and believe in themselves to achieve success.
He said, “If we focus on our skills and our abilities and believe in ourselves, we’ll give ourselves a chance to do some good things for the team.”
(With inputs from AFP)