India began their title defense in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy against a lowly Pakistan side and the margin of the victory; 124 runs spoke volumes about the superiority of the Men in Blue over their noisy neighbors. It might be one of the oldest clichés in the world of cricket to term Pakistan as “unpredictable” but looking at how they bounced back after their defeat against India to reach the finals of the competition for the first time ever, explains why they can be a lethal side if they wanted to be.
Now, the scene is pretty much set. It is perhaps the greatest rivalry in the history of cricket and it is perhaps the biggest venue for it to happen. The Champions Trophy is called the Champions’ World Cup and rightly so. On June 18, 2017, the two neighbors would go head to head. While India would play it for glory, Pakistan would play it for history. They would be looking to change the infamous record of never having beaten India in an ICC tournament.
Ahead of the crucial match, both the sides spoke out about their intentions to win the final and perhaps the Indian captain had a solid point to make. In the press conference ahead of the game that will be played on Sunday, Kohli said that the opening partnership of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan gave him immense confidence and satisfaction. The captain has himself displayed a masterful performance with the bat and boasts of one of the highest averages in the tournament, but he said that his performance has been a result of the performance of India’s opening duo which has acted as a source of inspiration for the Indian captain.
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Kohli’s point is valid indeed. If we look at the statistics, the numbers explain that though the openers have not scored runs in a quick-fire fashion, they have embodied the spirit of being dependable. They have been consistent enough throughout the tournament and “have dented the opposition mentally”, said an exuberant Kohli. One thing is for sure, if India aims to retain the title, they will be depending on a solid start by Sharma and Dhawan and if the duo lives up to the expectations, then there would be no stopping for India from beating their arch-rivals; yet again.
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