India vs Pakistan Preview: Great rivals meet again in the Champions Trophy final

Built upon a history of political and military conflict, this rivalry is one of the most intense on the planet.

India vs Pakistan Preview: Great rivals meet again in the Champions Trophy final
Captains Kohli and Sarfraz hope to have two hands on the trophy come Sunday evening (photo: Getty Images)

India and Pakistan meet at the Oval on Sunday, with Virat Kohli's side seeking successive Champions Trophy victories.

India boast a strong batting order but Pakistan have wicket takers in their midst

It is Kohli's talented squad who go into the match as favourites, after defeating their great rivals in the group stages of the competition and winning seven consecutive matches against Pakistan.

Boasting the two highest run-scorers in the tournament, namely Shikhar Dhawan with 317 and Rohit Sharma just 13 behind, India have a batting order capable of producing eye-watering scores. Captain Kohli himself sits fifth in the run scoring chart with 253 after three scores over 75.

With the weather conditions likely to be dry and sunny at the Oval, the game looks set to favour the batsman. Pakistan will be looking to their opening partnership of Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali who helped them to victory against England in the semi-finals.

Yet in that game it was once again the bowling ability of Pakistan that came to the fore. Spearheaded by Hasan Ali who has picked up ten wickets at the tournament, more than anyone else, Pakistan have an economical but deadly bowling attack. Junaid Khan also sits in the top five wicket takers in the competition with seven to his name, whilst Muhammad Amir has been passed fit to play. Pakistan proved their ability with the ball when they bowled out a deeply talented England batting order.

Tensions run deep between the neighbours

With one of the pre-tournament favourites in India taking on the lowest seeds in Pakistan, who have not made an ODI final since 1999, this contest is set to add another chapter to the intense rivalry between the two sides.

Stemming from the partition of British India into India and Pakistan 70 years ago that left one million dead, the neighbours certainly do not have a friendly rivalry. Political unrest between the two nations have only hindered any relationship building between the two nations who boast cricket as the national sport.

Pakistan lead 72-52 on the limited overs head-to-head in a fixture that grips not just the two nations but the whole globe. Almost one billion people reportedly watched the 2011 World Cup semi-final between the pair, whilst games have been known to sell out in less than 15 minutes. This occasion will present another raucous atmosphere.

Kohli announced to the press during the week that he had limited the use of social media within the camp during the competition, yet the internet is set to implode when these two sides collide in a much-anticipated contest set to raise the temperature further on one of the hottest days of the English summer. The World waits in anticipation.
 

Cricket