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Champions Trophy final more like a war than a match

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    Sporting clashes between India and Pakistan are more than just matches on the field. There are more war cries than ear-splitting appeals to the umpire.

    When Aussie mates tell me about the intensity of an Ashes series, I tell them Paul Hogan style, “That’s not a knife, THAT’S a knife.” The Indo-Pak clashes are the size of Hogan’s dagger.

    Any Pak-Indo clash is a mega event on the subcontinent but today’s match will have a sharp edge. It will be the first final between the two countries since 2008 and the first time they will be contesting the final of an ICC organised 50-over event – World Cup or Champions Trophy.

    The two teams met on fourth June in the current Champions Trophy which India won convincingly by 124 runs. However, Pakistan is riding high after beating Sri Lanka and then slaughtering undefeated England by eight wickets with 77 balls remaining in the first semi-final.

    The Indian batsmen, especially openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, are in majestic form. Not to forget skipper Virat Kohli who averages an incredible 253.00 with the bat.

    India won the toss and sent Bangladesh into bat who made seven for 264 after 50 overs.

    India’s in-form openers Dhawan and Sharma attacked with gusto and put on 87 runs off 88 balls before Dhawan was dismissed for 46. Then Kohli joined Sharma and it was massacre of the innocents as they put on 178 runs for the unbroken second wicket off only 153 balls.

    Man-of-the-match Sharma hit an unbeaten 123 off 129 balls with 15 fours and a six. Kohli smashed an unbeaten 96 in 78 balls with 13 fours.

    Dhawan has amassed the most number of runs so far in the 2017 Champions Trophy; 317 at 79.25, highest score 125. Sharma comes a close second, 304 at 101.33 (HS 123 not out). Kohli has stroked 253 runs at 253.00 (HS 96 not out).

    All three are in the running to receive the Golden Bat, awarded to the batsman scoring most runs.

    Dhawan is the only batsman to amass over 300 runs in two CTs, having scored 363 runs at 90.75 in 2013.

    Just as Indians have dominated the batting, Pakistanis have dominated the bowling in this CT.

    Three Indian bats (Dhawan at number 1, Sharma at No.2 and Kohli at No.5) are in top 5. But no Pak bat is in top 8.

    Conversely, two Pakistan bowlers, Hasan Ali (10 wickets at 17.20) at no.1 and Junaid Khan (seven wickets at 19.28) at No.4 are in top 4. But no Indian bowler is in top 6.

    So the final will be fought by Pakistan’s bowlers against Indian batsmen. In the match against Bangladesh Kohli became the quickest to reach 8000 runs in 175 ODIs. The record was previously held by South Africa’s AB deVilliers (8000th run in 182 ODIs).

    Just as the Indian and Bangladeshi fans had cheered their teams lustily in the semi final on Thursday, there will be Pakistani and Indian fans in thousands roaring for their country.

    Are there any Englishmen left in England? The TV cameras focussed on the fans in Bangladeshi greens and Indian blues. I’m sure the Pakistani greens and Indian blues will eclipse the home crowd in the final.

    India looks set to retain the Champions Trophy.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Guru

      June 18th 2017 @ 12:58pm
      Anindya Dutta said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

      Excellent preview of what promises to be a cracker of a final Kersi! There may be a smattering of Englishmen at the ground today, but a couple of billion people will be tuned to the match. With that kind of interest, who needs a home crowd? 😃 You have hit the nail on the head. It’s the Indian batsmen versus the Pakistani bowlers, at least as far as stats go. But be prepared for a few surprises as there inevitably are in a clash between these two teams. Bhuvi Kumar and Bumrah may surprise us yet, and I get the feeling Hasan Ali will get treated with a tad less respect tonight than he has been used to in this tournament. As an indian, and given the experience and maturity on the big stage (that india displayed in no uncertain manner in the semis) I concur with your call on the result. The excitement will be intense!

    • June 18th 2017 @ 1:05pm
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      Thank you Anindya.
      It depends which Pakistani team will turn up today? The terrific or the terrible?

    • June 18th 2017 @ 1:16pm
      Ritesh misra said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      Yes Kersi . It indeed will be a battle between Indian batting and Pak bowling . India seems to be favourites but you never know in a knockout match . Our weak link is our 5th bowler Pandya and I hope somehow he n Kedar complete their 10 without conceding too many .
      Somehow I have a feeling it could be Yuvraj who will win it for India today . He has done it before he can do it today
      Looking forward to a great match and thanks for a lovely piece capsizing various aspects

    • June 18th 2017 @ 1:42pm
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

      Appreciate your kind words, Ritesh. Yuvraj as Man of the Match? I doubt it. But who knows in ODIs?

    • June 19th 2017 @ 2:22am
      Bakkies said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:22am | ! Report

      Good result for Cricket. India got a hiding and was nice to see Kohli squirm

    • Roar Rookie

      June 19th 2017 @ 3:53am
      savage said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:53am | ! Report

      pakistan was clearly best team of the tournament!! whereas india were just pathetic and played like a coward.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 5:07am
        peeeko said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:07am | ! Report

        are you 8?

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