What’s the story?
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan wants Pakistan to play for their pride against India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy, which is scheduled to be played at The Oval in London on Sunday (June 18).
“I think we have got a great chance to restore our pride in the final because of the way we lost the first match to India. It was humiliating how badly we lost that match and we can turn things around now,” said the Pakistan bowling great.
The ICC World Cup-winning captain advised current-Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed to bat first in the final so as to stop the strong Indian batting line-up to score a big total in the first innings. He believes that will put Pakistan under pressure.
“India has a strong batting and if they put up a big total it will mean double pressure for us. I mean the pressure on our bowlers and the pressure of keeping up with the run- rate on the scoreboard. Our real strength is our bowling and we must bat first if we win the toss. Our batting is not that good our bowling is better,” he concluded.
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Pakistan met India in their opening game of the tournament, where they succumbed to a 124-run defeat. Batting first, India put up a huge total of 319 for 4. All the batsmen who came to the crease contributed to the total.
In reply, Ahmed’s Pakistan could only manage a stuttering 164 for the loss of 9 wickets before India were declared winners on the basis of the DLS method.
Also read: India vs Pakistan, the numbers that matter
Full of praise for the newly appointed captain, Khan said that he is really impressed with the bold decisions Ahmed has taken on and off the field. He also applauded Hasan Ali’s inspired bowling in the middle overs and said that Pakistan’s real strength, even today, thrives in their ferociously fearless bowling attack.
Pakistan might’ve suffered a demeaning loss against their arch-rivals at Edgbaston on June 4, but they cannot be touted as the same team now. They have shown dominant signs of progress in all three spheres of the game.
They managed to pocket a rain-affected victory against South Africa, stuttered to a 3-wicket win against Sri Lanka and absolutely rampaged past the hosts in the semi-final. It’s also worth mentioning that England were considered to be heavy tournament favourites along with South Africa and India.
It is not England or South Africa that will face India in the final – it is Pakistan, the team ranked at No. 8 in ICC ODI rankings. No one expected them to come this far, and no one certainly gave them a second’s thought after the loss in their initial match.
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However, Pakistan have shown why they are such a big name in world cricket even today. A victory against India to lift their first Champions Trophy will not just mean redemption for the almost-outcasts of cricket, it will mean vindication.
Also read: What makes Pakistan tick?