'Virat Kohli Smashes Pakistan', Fans Sing Ahead Of Final Clash


The Champions Trophy reaches its conclusion on Sunday with a blockbuster final set to be watched by a billion people around the world. The last one was a contest to avoid the wooden spoon between the last two finishers in the 1986 World Cup - leaving former champions India terribly disappointed with the bottom 12th position.

"We dissected India a lot before the game at Edgbaston, and we've sort of backtracked a little bit on that now and sort of solidifying what we did really well, confirming what we've done well in terms of our bowling, in terms of our batting, in terms of our fielding, and building on that".

India's selectors have opted to rest opener Rohit Sharma and seamer Jasprit Bumrah (not pictured) both of whom played in Thursday's Champions Trophy semi-final. The Men in Blue have dominated Pakistan in ICC tournaments with a 13-2 advantage till date and have clearly looked a much better side in the tournament in all three departments of the game.

Their bowling attack has sparkled, blunting England's renowned batting line-up (the hosts made just 211 on Wednesday) and also restricting South Africa to 219.

But Kohli was adamant that he valued the all-round balance Pandya offers and suggested that, if India continued to invest in him, they would be rewarded with "a match-winning performance" in a "crisis". The more positive cricket we play, the better results we will get. We can restrict them or defend against them. We focus on the things within our control, so as I said we don't go after past records and statistics. "We have changed nothing from the day we came here", he added.

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Opening batsman Azhar Ali: "It is massive". It's big stage for him and Anil Kumble. On that occasion, England was the creator of their own downfall in playing some loose cricket shots, without doing the hard yards that even the modern-day batsmen must be prepared to put in every now and again. "For us it'll just be nearly a clincher for us in terms of the brand of cricket we want to play, where we want to take the team".

"It wouldn't be a shock if we won, ". He can get you a couple of wickets, as well, and then with the bat and the field we know what he can do. "We were the number eight ranked side, and no one gave us any credit", said Azhar.

"Beyond the golden talent and the iron determination, Virat has learned how to cope with the pressures of his exalted position", said De Villiers, who was dismissed for his first golden duck in ODI cricket in a loss to Pakistan last week.

"Our execution has been great and we've attacked", Arthur said. The match between the two sides is always special. "We will play the final with the same passion that we have played the rest of the tournament". There are no easy games over here. "So long as the pools are balanced, it's silly to avoid (the fixture) when you can fairly cater for it", he had told to a British daily previous year.

"There is no doubt about Rohit's ability and what he brings to the team", Kohli said.

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However, India will remain under pressure as the Pakistan team has a fresh batch of players who have exuberating confidence. But Pakistan could also find a place for Amir by leaving out a spinner in either Shadab Khan or Imad Wasim.

"I look forward to playing as it's a big occasion", added Amir, now firmly back in the worldwide fold after his career was halted by a ban and jail sentence for his part in a 2010 spot-fixing scam during a Test against England at Lord's.

London will have one of sport's highest-profile fixtures in its midst on Sunday.

Residents of India-administered Kashmir, many of whom support the Pakistani team, lit firecrackers to celebrate Pakistan's victory over Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament. Viewers in India can catch the ICC Champions Trophy on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, and DD National. Football's equivalent might be a Wembley final of the European Championship between Spain and Germany.

These two teams previously met just once at this stage of an International Cricket Council global event, when India won the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

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