India wary of mercurial Pakistan in Champions Trophy finale

Virat Kohli’s India square off against a resurgent Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final at The Oval.India appeared to be a clear favourite of bookies on Friday but not by a large margin.India had defeated Pakistan in the final of the inaugural World T20 tournament in South Africa to lift the title. It was a one-sided final of a tri-series which also saw Sri Lanka as Pakistan thrashed the hosts by 123 runs after scoring 291.”It has been estimated by many studies that roughly a total of Rs 2 lakh crore is wagered on all matches that India play throughout the year”, said Rolland Landers, CEO of AIGF.An India vs Pakistan final is about as big an occasion as the ICC could have hoped for, but few would have foreseen Pakistan going the distance in the tournament.Although gambling is illegal in most parts of the country, Indians can lay their bets through United Kingdom websites through their worldwide credit cards and e-wallets, said Landers.Defending champs India have been in splendid form in the ongoing Champions Trophy and it’s no surprise that they would get past Pakistan to retain the title, Test wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha said on Sunday.When recapping the game at Lord’s between South Africa and England before the tournament, I made a point of pointing out that the best sides, despite sticking to their method wherever possible, analyse conditions well.Pakistan have lost all three of their previous matches against India in the knockout stages of International Cricket Council events but Sarfraz said: “I am proud of my boys: we were ranked number eight and today, we have nothing to lose”. “I think I have been able to strike a good balance and I am sure I will be fine tomorrow”, said Kohli.”I know there are expectations, I know there are people that expect the team and me to do well every time we play”. The bunch of lesser mortals led by Sarfraz Ahmed is just a win away from immortality.”Pakistan should bat first because there is no pressure batting first. My advice to Sarfraz for the final is simple-take all decisions wholeheartedly and without any fear whatsoever”, he said. If they could get 265 runs so easily losing only one wicket, another 60-70 would not have put them under any pressure.Most of the TV spots for the final, to be played in London, were pre-booked with firms such as Nissan Motor, Intel Corp, Emirates, Chinese mobile maker Oppo and Indian tyre maker MRF signed up as commercial partners for the tournament.Sri Lanka (squad): Virat Kohli (captain), Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, M.S. Dhoni (wicket keeper), Ravendra Jadeja, Keedhar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Yuvraj Singh.Pakistan’s fielding and catching was exceptional in their rout of England at Cardiff, and would need to be on top of its game, if they are to push India in a crunch game.