India win toss, elect to field

India win toss, elect to field

India win toss, elect to field

Right from the start, Pakistan looked very little like, well, Pakistan.

Earlier, Riding on Fakhar Zaman's 114 runs, Pakistan posted massive 338 runs for the loss of four wickets in the high-voltage final of the Champions Trophy against arch-rivals India here on Sunday.

Pakistan have completed the coveted quintuple - World Cup, U-19 World Cup, World T20, ICC Test Mace and now Champions Trophy.

India's top three batsman - Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and captain Virat Kohli - came to the final having combined for 874 runs, more than 80 percent of the team's tally in the tournament.

Or will it be the slick, skilled side who hammered England by eight wickets in the semi-finals, with Hasan Ali, the competition's leading wicket-taker, spearheading a brilliant bowling effort as the previously unbeaten tournament hosts were dismissed for just 211 before the likes of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman helped knock off the runs in dashing style? While Fakhar, with his audacious strokeplay at the top, has been a revelation, Babar Azam's lack of runs is a worrying factor.

This was only Zaman's fifth one-day worldwide. There won't be any shortage of passion on the field, in the stands, in the dressing room and everywhere the ardent cricket fans are going to watch the thrilling match between India vs. Pakistan.

It started on a wrong note when a lovely delivery from Jasprit Bumrah was nicked by an edgy Zaman only to be called no-ball due to overstepping.

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Zaman was batting at 3 at that point. Following opening stands of 40, 74 and 188, the pair delivered another strong start, and while it wasn't always pretty, against a form team it made a massive difference.

He hit the Indian bowlers outside the park by smashing six boundaries and an over boundary. Indeed, the ineffectiveness of India's two experienced spinners was the big letdown. He bowled too quick and too flat which made strokeplay easier. The two conceded 137 in 18 overs. Pandya was the beneficiary, and getting ten overs for just 53 runs was worth plenty for India. Babar Azam then hit a fine 46 and Mohammad Hafeez a 37-ball 57 to take the total to a level that their impressive bowling unit could comfortably defend. The other 5 finals have been won by the chasing team. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni had vast experience.

But Pakistan could also find a place for Amir by leaving out a spinner in either Shadab Khan or Imad Wasim. The sixth wicket fell in the 17th over, also to the teasing legspin of Shadab, and from there it was a matter of how long India would last. Hardik Pandya smashed 76 off 43 balls, hit half a dozen of sixes to provide some entertainment, before being run-out due to a terrible mix-up with Jadeja.

India lost their last four wickets for the addition of only six runs.

They have done so with a team, whose selection and preparations were marred by PSL spot-fixing saga which saw the otherwise certainties in the squad - Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Irfan being ruled out of being featured in cricket activities.

India is used to finals, used to embracing the pressure and expectations.

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