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Match Preview: ICC Champions Trophy 2017 India V/s Pakistan; weather forecast predicts rain
The wait is finally over as arch-rivals India and Pakistan clash in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at Edgbaston in Birmingham in a day-night encounter on Sunday. It would be the first time that the neighbouring countries play against each other in a 50-over game since the 2015 ICC World Cup.

Never has there been more hype over an India Pakistan clash in cricket than today's contest owing to the recently mounting tension between the the two countries. The Indian public would ideally want Team India to seek vengeance from the Pakistanis for all their wrong doings, right from Pathankot to beheading of two Indian soldiers, tonight on the cricket field. After all, we're an an emotionally driven nation.

But then, not minding all that hype, its just a game after all, and a gentleman's game at that.

Things have greatly changed since 2012-13, the last time India and Pakistan played a bilateral series. Today, India has become a much more formidable side packed with superstars who rule the game. 

On the other hand, Pakistan cricket has seen its nadir. With a cash strapped cricket board and an ageing unfit team, the state of cricket in Pakistan can only be described as ramshackle. Just ahead of the start of ICC Champions Trophy, news broke that Umar Akmal had been sent back to Pakistan and removed from the list of probables for the tournament after failing two consecutive fitness tests.

The tables turned for Pakistan cricket in 2008, after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists while touring Pakistan. Post that incident, no team has been willing to tour Pakistan. Hence, Pakistani players have been playing less and less cricket.

There are no points for guessing that India are the clear favourites in today's tie, as they have looked in sublime touch in the tournament so far after having won both their warm up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh convincingly. Contrastingly, Pakistan barely made it at the eighth spot of the ICC ranking pipping West Indies who missed the bus. The current Pakistani side is just a shadow of what it used to be.

New Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed will have his task cut out for today's match as he leads a struggling side against one of the finest and strongest cricket teams in recent times. The only two players that Pakistan would bank upon today are Shoaib Malik and all-rounder Imad Wasim.

It is yet to be confirmed whether Yuvraj Singh, who has just recovered from viral fever would get a place in the playing XI today.

However, weather gods could dampen all the excitement today as there is possibility of rain in the morning and afternoon on Sunday. Remember, this is the same ground where the match between Australia and New Zealand had to be abandoned on June 2. Inclement weather also forced Kohli and company to train indoors on Friday. With the tickets of the match totally sold out and millions of fans eagerly waiting to watch the match on television, lets keep our fingers crossed.

However, on the brighter side, overcast conditions would be conducive for pacers. Pakistan would rest their hopes on their fast bowler Wahab Riaz.

We expect today's match to be more or less one sided in India's favour unless Pakistan pulls up something extraordinary, possibilities of which happening seem bleak.

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