Pakistan are all set to take on arch-rivals India in Champions Trophy 2017 final at The Oval on Sunday, 18 June. This is Pakistan’s maiden Champions Trophy final in their cricket history and fourth ICC tournament final in 18 years. In 1999 ICC World Cup final they were battered by Australia while in 2007 World T20 final they wasted a golden opportunity to win the maiden World T20 trophy. However, in 2009, they won World T20 beating Sri Lanka in the final.
So, after eight years this final means a lot to the Pakistan team, who as an ODI team has not played any remarkable cricket in recent time, have defeated South Africa, Sri Lanka, and England in the way to their final.
When they commence their tournament campaign as No. 8 team nobody has given any chance to them. To make it worse, they suffered 124 runs defeat to India in their opening game. However, Sarfraz Ahmed’s team made necessary improvements in both batting and fielding departments before their second Group B match against No. 1 team in ICC rankings South Africa. Pakistan have exhibited a clinical performance to win against the Proteas.
Pakistan bowlers bowled out South Africa for 219 and won the match by 19 as per D/L method. During their chase, they lost only three wickets. Infusion of young batsman Fakhar Zaman and bowler Junaid Khan has worked well. Following a convincing victory against the Proteas, they defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets and qualified to the semi-final.
While chasing a 237 runs target, Pakistan had to crawl as Sri Lankan bowlers kept them at bay. In the death overs, Sri Lankan fielders’ butter fingers helped captain Sarfraz to lead Pakistan to victory.
However, in the semi-final, Pakistan pulled up another clinical performance at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff to beat tournament favourite England by eight-wicket and subsequently qualified for final.
Their solid improvements, since their dismal performance against India, have impressed cricket fans and experts. On June 18, when Pakistan will take on India they will be a different team.
Since their defeat to India, Pakistan think-tank brought in Junaid Khan in place of brainless Wahab Riaz and Fakhar Zaman was given chance to open the innings ahead of Ahmed Shehzad. In the final, they will take on India as a confident side. They have talents to challenge India in final. This is the second ICC tournament final between India and Pakistan since 2007, when India defeated Pakistan in World T20 final.