London: Fans in India and Pakistan are gearing up to watch a high-voltage Champions Trophy final clash between the national sides of both the neighbouring nations on Sunday.
It is after 10 years that India and Pakistan are meeting in the final of an ICC tournament.
Last time, it was in 2007 when India and Pakistan had battled for a major ICC trophy and it was MS Dhoni and his men who had walked out of the park with a smile on their faces.
India had defeated Pakistan in the final of the inaugural World T20 tournament in South Africa to lift the title.
The trophy win marked young MS Dhoni’s arrival as the brilliant skipper of the Indian side.
It was his first major assignment as the captain of the national cricket team.
The victory also assumed significance as fans were earlier that year disappointed following India’s group stage exit from 2007 50-over World Cup in West Indies.
India’s current skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday said the final of the ICC Champions Trophy is expected to be a ‘well-contested’ game.
“We are neither intimidated nor are we too arrogant,” Kohli said at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash.
India defeated Pakistan mostly in major ICC tournament matches so far in the history of the game.
In their opening group stage matches earlier in the tournament, India had defeated Pakistan.
“I am sure it will be a well-contested final,” he said.
India defeated Bangladesh in the semi-final to reach the final.
Pakistan, despite being defeated in the first match, made a significant turnaround and defeated South Africa, Sri Lanka and then England in the semi-finals to make their place cemented in the final of the ICC tournament.
India are the current defending champions.
It was under Dhoni’s leadership that India had defeated England in the final of the Champions Trophy in 2013 to lift the title.
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan advised current skipper Sarfaraz and tweeted: “Pak’s strength is bowling; India’s is batting. My humble advice to Sarfaraz is: play to our strength; try & bat first & build a decent total.”
He said: “If India bats first & gets big score it will put Pak under pressure from accurate Indian bowling. Good Luck Team Pakistan.”
Former Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar tweeted: “we are already proud of you Pak team so go out there enjoy & be positive.”
Former spinner Saqlain Mustaq said: “Icc champions trophy final tmw pakistan v india request to all who ever wins let’s support the game, both teams and win hearts.”
Image Courtesy: en.dailypakistan.com.pk
–India Blooms News Service