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India vs Pakistan Final, Champions Trophy: Key Battles to Watch Out for at the Oval

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: June 18, 2017, 11:02 AM IST
India vs Pakistan Final, Champions Trophy: Key Battles to Watch Out for at the Oval

(Getty Images)

New Delhi: India take on Pakistan in a blockbuster Champions Trophy 2017 final clash at the Oval on Sunday. Defending champions India are overwhelming favourites for this clash, but Pakistan have stunned some of the better teams on their way to the final and cannot be ruled out from causing an upset.

Let's take a look at some of the key clashes that could decide the title match in London.

1. Virat Kohli vs Junaid Khan

Virat Kohli and Junaid Khan have been one of the top performers for their respective teams in this edition of the Champions Trophy. The Indian skipper has slammed 253 runs in 4 matches for India which includes two half-centuries. While Junaid has picked up 7 wickets for Pakistan just three matches.

If past record is anything to go by, then Junaid always seems to come on top against the swashbuckling Indian batsman. Kohli has faced 22 ball against Junaid and he has been dismissed by the left-hander thrice. While Junaid has also bowled 21 dot balls against Kohli in ODIs. Therefore, expect skipper Sarfraz Ahmed to hand over the ball to Junaid when Kohli takes to the crease in this match.

2. Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Amir

Star India opener Rohit Sharma has been sublime touch and is the second highest run-getter of the tournament with 304 runs in 4 matches. The right-hander has slammed one century and two half-century and has been crucial in providing great starts to India in the tournament. On the other hand, Mohammad Amir could have a big say in the match as he is most likely to return to the squad after sitting out of the team's semi-final clash against England due to injury.

Amir's record against Rohit has been very good in the past and he could once again trouble the in-form Indian batsman. Amir has bowled 39 deliveries to Rohit in the past and the 'hitman' has scored just 18 runs off it. While Amir hasn't dismissed Rohit even once in ODIs, he has been very economical against the Indian batsman.

3. Shikhar Dhawan vs Hasan Ali

Like Rohit, opener Shikhar Dhawan to has been in sensational form in this tournament. Dhawan is the leading run-scorer of the tournament and has slammed 317 runs in four matches. But if Dhawan has to continue his rich-scoring form in the final, then he will had to deal with Pakistan's young pace sensation Hasan Ali.

Similar to Dhawan, Hasan is also the leading that charts in his department. With 10 wickets in 4 matches, Hasan is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament and also is one of the main reasons why Pakistan are in the final. This is definitely going to be one epic battle!

4. Fakhar Zaman vs Jasprit Bumrah

Another Pakistani youngster who has stunned one and all by performing so well in the tournament is opener Fakhar Zaman. In his debut series on the biggest stage, the southpaw has slammed two half-centuries while opening the batting and his brave performances with the bat have garnered plaudits from one and all.

However, against India it will be all different ball game for the young man as he will come up against Jasprit Bumrah who is one of best bowlers in the world at the start of the innings. Bumrah's economy rate of 4.30 is the best in the Champions Trophy for a front-line bowler and to add to that he has also picked up 4 wickets for his country.

5. Azhar Ali vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Azhar Ali has been under fire in the tournament for scoring at a very slow pace (Strike Rate: 71.30). However, the one good thing that he has been doing since the start of the tournament is that he hasn't thrown away his wickets when things got rough. Pakistan need that solidity upfront and with two half-centuries in four matches, Azhar has been able to do that.

However, the right-hander will have his work cut-out against India as he will come up against the in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The Indian pacer is one of the leading wicket-takers of the tournament (6 scalps) and also one of the most meanest (Econ: 4.70). And to add to that, Bhuvi has also dismissed Azhar Ali once on the past. While off the 36 balls that Azhar has faced off Bumrah, he has only scored 20 runs and 27 have been dot balls.
First Published: June 18, 2017, 11:01 AM IST

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