Sport

Sarfraz Ahmed's Etawah-based mamu roots for India in Champions Trophy final

Sarfraz Ahmed's Etawah-based mamu roots for India in Champions Trophy final”

Pummelled by arch-rivals India in their opening game on June 4, a team they will renew acquaintance with in the summit clash on Sunday, Sarfraz Ahmed's unfancied side wears a distinctly similar look to the outfit 25 years ago when they lost their World Cup opener to the West Indies by 10 wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.

India and Pakistan have already met during the tournament's group stage, with India winning easily.

Javed Miandad said that both India and Pakistan have an equal chance of clinching the final of the Champions Trophy.

But few would dispute that India-Pakistan is now the world game s premier contest - certainly not the ICC who, by their own admission, now fix the draw at their events to ensure the Asian giants meet in the group phase.

"India have the upper hand in ICC tournaments", he admitted before adding: "But things can change, and this is the time for us to change the tag that we don't perform well at ICC events".

When and where will the India vs Pakistan final be played?

Hafeez's cameo against England will hold him in good stead for the final.

"What we are going to try to do is repeat the similar sort of cricket that we have played so far, knowing the strengths and weaknesses they have", Kohli said. "India is our nation and therefore we will pray for its win", he added.

"No one gave us a hope when we got here".

"We played against England previous year, they got 440 against us but we beat them in Cardiff with good planning and the way the bowlers executed our plans".

Sunday's match up will be the first final between the two sides in a decade, following 2007's nail-biting World Twenty20 final that saw India defeat Pakistan by a mere five runs. "We want to change that - me and Mickey Arthur and all the coaching staff, we want to bring those things together".

Azhar praised pacer Hasan Ali, tournment's highest wicket taker with ten wickets.

India also have a well-balanced attack, with new-ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah supported by contrasting spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja, with the like of Kedar Jadhav, as he showed against Bangladesh, also able to chip in with useful wickets.

But the defeat did not hurt them in their quest for a semi-final berth which was eventually secured because of the fortuitous win over England.

"Amir bowled today. Amir is fit". "The back spasm took two days to get over, and he's better now. But we don't mind - if he is not fit, then we move on with Rumman Raees".

But Desmond Haynes (93 not out) and Brian Lara (retired hurt 88) were too strong for the Pakistani bowlers to even take a wicket as they won with 19 balls to spare.

"We've seen some really surprising results and it's been incredible for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of", Kohli said.



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