India will take on Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4, 2017 in ICC Champions Trophy clash. The match has been billed as ‘clash of titans’. India last played Pakistan in World T20, 2016 in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India would like to start their campaign on a winning note and the match promises to be a close one and exciting.
5 things to watch out for
Can India maintain their dominance over Pakistan in ICC events: India have a very dominating record over Pakistan in ICC events. India has never lost a World Cup match (1992-Australia, 1996-India, 1999-England, 2003-South Africa, 2011-India, 2015-Australia) against Pakistan at WC. The story remains the same in World T20. India defeated Pakistan in the inaugural WT20 in South Africa and have a 100% record in world tournaments. India being the experienced side would start on a strong footing against a feeble and nervy Pakistan.
Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Amir: The Indian captain is one of the finest batsmen in world cricket across all formats and would be taking on Pakistan’s strike weapon Mohammad Amir. Amir, who was involved in the spot-fixing saga has much to prove and bowling to world’s best would not be an easy thing. Virat Kohli has praised Mohammad Amir and whoever wins this battle will tighten the grip on the match.
Pak’s superior record at CT: Pakistan surprisingly hold a better record over India in Champions Trophy (2-1). However, India won the last encounter against the arch-rivals in 2013 in a rain-curtailed match. Pakistan has defeated India in 2004 and 2009 and would be holding on to this record. The pressure of a big match might free up ‘green brigade’ and they might spring a surprise on the ‘men in blue’.
Indian batting vs Pakistan bowling: The batting might of India will face a traditionally strong Pakistan bowling. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan would be facing Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz with the new white Kookabura. The pacers will be running and sending thunderbolts to the Indian batters. The match will see an exhibition of pace and spin of Pakistan over class and strong Indian batting line up.
Battle of nerves: In a big contest, it often boils down to who can hold their nerve, India being the more experienced side has an edge over a young and inexperienced Pakistan side, who will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed. India also has history behind them and Pakistan with baggage of past defeats would start as underdogs. The pressure of playing against a big, noisy crowd would also tense up the players. The game will come down to fine margins and the team, which embraces the pressure will emerge victorious.
The match is also being played against the backdrop of political tension and Virat Kohli’s alleged tiff with head coach Anil Kumble. The contest hopefully would be nail-biting and cricket should emerge as a winner.