Admit it, many of you, who will be watching the ICC Champions Trophy final this Sunday, are not cricket fans. Yet you choose to paint your faces and scream at the top of your lungs when an India-Pakistan match comes around, because, well, it’s an India-Pakistan match! Even now, you may be struggling to understand the stakes. But do not worry; our comparison of the top Indian and Pakistani players will make life easier for you.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Indian team has been performing brilliantly in this tournament. Having only lost once to Sri Lanka, they have otherwise been at the top of their game throughout. India’s greatest strength is their deadly batting line-up, combined with intelligent captaincy. Hence, the three men to watch out for are Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
The captain of the Indian cricket team knows exactly how to manage his players, decide who goes on when, and do strategic field placements. Of course Kohli is also a force to be reckoned with as a player, and he continues to impress with his batting. Once he settles into the game (which doesn’t take long), not even high pressure rattles him. In fact, he tends to thrive and perform even better under pressure, especially in matches where India is chasing.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are the top scorers of this year’s Champions Trophy. That ought to tell you something about their skill with the bat. They are an ideal opening pair for the fierce Indian batting line-up.
Overall, if these three men are in form, they are quite literally unstoppable. Middle order batsmen don’t even get a chance to come to the pitch.
Pakistan has a history of performing badly when confronted by the Indian team in major tournaments, especially the World Cup. However, this time, they have many reasons to be confident. Not only did they defeat South Africa and Sri Lanka in succession, but they also crushed England, the only team that had not lost a single match in the tournament. Pakistan’s strength lies in its world class bowlers and its level-headed captain. The four men to watch out for are Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed.
Hasan Ali is the top wicket-taker of this tournament; a right-arm seamer who has stunned even the most experienced batsmen with his high-quality bowling and effective use of variation. Something about him reminds us of the glorious old days, when our team possessed bowling legends such as Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
Mohammad Amir could be quite damaging to the Indian line-up. While he hasn’t taken many wickets in this particular tournament, he could be a match-winner for Pakistan if he delivers.
Junaid Khan is a fast bowler who has that all-important ability to take quick wickets. He is known to perform well even under pressure. His role would be crucial, along with that of Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir.
In the last three matches, Sarfraz has displayed great captaincy by using the right bowlers at the right time to put pressure on the opposing team, and even more importantly, giving Pakistan a positive mindset. He also has the benefit of being the wicket keeper for his side, which allows him a good view of the ground and enables him to support his bowlers throughout the game. Moreover, as a batsman, Sarfraz performs well under pressure, often giving match-winning performances when Pakistan’s middle order crumbles.
The Indian team may be favourites for the upcoming final, but if Pakistan attacks them early on, we have a fair chance of a win. We will need to utilize our strong bowling and complement it with good fielding, which will play an integral role in deciding who takes home this year’s ICC Champions Trophy.
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