With the last match of the ICC Champions Trophy only hours away, excitement in India and Pakistan has reached its usual fever pitch level.TV channels in both countries are busy analyzing every last bit of information they have about cricket and are coming up with predictions, statistical analysis, forecasts as well as humiliating animations of the other team being defeated. Even politicians have taken a break from their scheming and stealing to take a look. The question in people’s minds across the subcontinent is which team will take home the trophy, and which one will have to hang its head in shame after coming so close to victory.
Cricket is a complex game. Triumph in it comes from team effort but also from individual skill and ability. More so than other sports, the individual talents of every player matter in the field. That’s why a match is often won or lost depending on a certain player’s unique bowling action or batting style. In Pak-India cricket, this is truer than in other cricketing countries. We not only have our favorite players but also our favorite styles and moves. For both Pakistanis and Indians, the upcoming match will offer up a chance to see their heroes in action.
Let us take a look at some of the crowd favorites for the ICC Champions Trophy final.
One of the prodigies of Pakistancricket, Muhammad Amir will most certainly be a player the crowd would anticipate seeing. The young player from Gujjar Khan, Punjabhas been called “the greatest fast bowler since Wasim Akram”. Later on he had his illustriouscareer marred by spot-fixing. However, while the Pakistani public is divided over the issues of his morals, no one has yet disputed his skill with a ball. Unfortunately, a back spasm had put Amir out of the semifinal against England. Still reports suggest that Amir is now well enough to play and may appear in the final. That is great news for Pakistani fans who want to see Amir take down the Indians.
Although by no means an experienced cricketer, Fakhar Zaman will be one player who people from both sides will be watching out for due to the raw talent that he had shown in the competition so far. Although Fakhar has mostly played domestic cricket so far – he had played previously for the Habib Bank Limited team and for the Lahore Qalandars – he has shown through performances that his talents are more than suited to the international stage by first aiding Pakistan’s win against South Africa and then by smashing England in the semifinal. He is the one kid the Indians just cannot ignore.
One of the most well-knownPakistani players internationally, the crowd will certainly be waiting to see Mohammad Hafeez perform in the final. Theall-rounder recently got publicity for his comments when he said that he loved the label of “unpredictability” that is often attached to the Pakistani team saying that it was a strength for the group.However, much like the Pakistani team’s performance during the Champions Trophy Hafeez’s playing style have also often been called inconsistent by fans.His execution has been dubbed both “awe-inspiring” and “distressingly bad”. Fans will be hoping he brings his all to the match today.
One of the most internationally recognized athletes in the world, Virat Kohli is massively popular not only among Indians but also among cricketing fans of other nations as well. His performance is one that the crowd will be most eagerlyawaiting. The Indian captain is also a highly skilled player and one that the Pakistaniteam needs to be wary of as his batting style makes him one of the most dangerous cricketers of the opposing team. However, as previous matches have shown, Kohli has some highly visible weaknesses and these can be exploited to the fullest in order to take him out.
A highly experienced and talented opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan will most likely have a part to play in the upcoming match. He had, after all, helped India massively in the previous matches of the tournament by first scoring 68 runs in 65 balls against Pakistan and later enabling India to win against South Africa by scoring 78 runs. Dhawan’s playing style can best be described as offensive defense.Having faced him on the field before, it would be imprudent for the Pakistani team to underestimate Dhawan or to take him lightly.One of the most prolific batsmen of the Indian side, Dhawan’s performance will be something both sides will want to see.
One of the most talented cricketers in the Indian team, Mohammad Shami would be one of those whose performance fans would be watching out for in the final. Although Shami is mostly known in India (where he represents the state of Bengal in domestic cricket) the player does have a small base of fans in other countries. A genuine fast bowler (he has managed to bowl consistently around the 140kmph mark), as well as a “reverse swing specialist”, Shami is a player that can prove to be a great hindrance to the Pakistani team unless they can manage to contain him.
These are the some of the stars of the Pakistani and Indian teams. Let us hope that today they give us a match well worth the tension filled wait.