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ICC Champions Trophy 2017 India-Pakistan final: Why I think India will lift the trophy in a one sided encounter?
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987, everyone was expecting a final match between India and Pakistan at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India was the defending champion and Pakistan was considered as one of favourite teams to win.

But, the uncertainties in cricket always dispose off all wishes. India was knocked out by England whereas Pakistan lost to Australia and eventually Australia under the captainship of Alan Border won the World Cup. Frankly, that was the beginning of the rise of a new age in Australian cricket.

During the ICC World Cup of 1987, it was also rumoured that both Indian and Pakistani governments had intentionally fixed the matches to avoid a post match riot situation as the expectations and emotions were running high before both semi-finals. However, rumours have never been any credible evidence, but the fact remains that during that period, a match between India and Pakistan in the final definitely would have been a pressure situation for all, the teams, fans, and governments included.

It's not that India and Pakistan have never met in a final match. In fact, lot of times both teams have faced each other in finals, Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup included. In ICC tournaments, India and Pakistan had first met in the Benson and Hedges World Championship 1985 (popularly called as mini-World Cup) where Sunil Gavaskar-led Indian team had won the final by 8 wickets. In the league stages also, India had defeated Pakistan by 6 wickets.

Similarly, in the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, India and Pakistan met in the final and India won by five runs in a nail biting finish. In this tournament also, India defeated Pakistan in league stage in a super over by bowling out Pakistan 3-0 as both teams had ended with a tie after playing their designated twenty overs each. The point to be noted is that irrespective of rankings, India has always dominated over Pakistan in all ICC tournaments except twice in ICC knock out (Champions Trophy) tournament where Pakistan won in 2004 and 2009.

The real rivalry in cricketing sense between both countries, in fact, started after the Asia Cup in 1986 where Javed Miandad hit a six of the last ball bowled by Chetan Sharama in the final match to secure an impossible win. After that, subsequent Indian teams always came under pressure while facing Pakistan in a bilateral series and tournaments especially organised in Sharjah or Dubai (UAE). The mental condition of Indian teams was so critical while facing Pakistan during that era that even ordinary Pakistani teams started wining matches against high ranked Indian teams.

The situation became worse in light of fixing scandals, and BCCI decided not to take part in tournaments in Sharjah or the Middle East. But still, India continued to crumble under pressure against even a lower ranked Pakistani team. 

It was only under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy which saw the ressurgance on an aggressive Team India, which started taking pressure in Indo-Pak matches. Later, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captainship, India was a totally changed side against whom Pakistan started crumbling under pressure. Now it's skipper Virat Kohli who is not only number one batsman but a master at chasing targets who has transformed the team into a professional outfit.

Many Indian fans are worried and a bit nervous regarding the outcome of India-Pakistan final on Sunday. Their logic is that Pakistan is a highly uncertain side and can upset any team. They cite the example of the recent South Africa and England matches where Pakistan won despite being ranked 8th.

My answer is simple. South Africa still hasn't been able to shun the chokers tag and crumbles under pressure in crucial matches. England is a good team, but in the first semi-final, it panicked and lost the match. However, the current Indian team does not panic. In the match against Sri Lanka, India scored 321 runs. India lost the match because Sri Lanka played well on that day and the team also bats deep down the order. India didn't lose this match playing bad cricket. Sometimes the rival time chases well on a flat track. But if a team scores 300 plus, it wins 9 out of 10 times.

Thus, against Pakistan, India is not going to be under-pressure and neither would it panick. We have already seen this team performing and reaching 300 plus totals even after top order collapses. In the match against England at Cuttack, both veterans Yuvraj and Dhoni scored centuries. Later on, even Kedar Jadhav scored a century while chasing the target to win the match for India. All batsmen are in form and whenever they have got the opportunity they have shown their class. However, India's bowling is a bit weak when compared to Pakistan. But I would say that Indian bowling performance would be far superior against a weak Pakistani batting side than Pakistan's strong bowling performance against a formidable and top class Indian batting side.

In conclusion, I would say that I won't be surprised if India lifts the ICC Championship Trophy 2017 on 18th June in a one sided final match!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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