London: Cricket fans, not only in India and Pakistan, but across the globe would be having their eyes glued on television sets when the greatest cricket rivalry once again rejuvenates in what could be expected as a high voltage game in the Champions Trophy at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground today.
While the Men in Blue would go into the match as clear favourites courtesy their stupendous record in the ICC events against Pakistan, they cannot afford to be complacent considering their history against the arch-rivals when it comes to Champions Trophy.
While Pakistan hold a 2-1 lead over their fierce rivals and neighbours in the Champions Trophy, it is India who have won 10 out of the 11 contests at the World Cup and World T20 tournaments between the two sides.
In recent times, however, the rivalry between the two cricketing giants has been one sided with India enjoying the lion’s share of positive results.
India won the last Champions Trophy in 2013 and head into the marquee event as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins.
Both Virat Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed have stated that they would like to treat this high octane match as just another game of cricket but when it come to India-Pakistan clash, we all know it’s not just any ‘other game’.
One of the key factors which will play a major role in the match is the players’ control over emotions and their ability to deal with the pressure, the hype and the buzz surrounding the match.
Following are some facts as the two Asian giants meet in one of cricket’s mega event:
• These teams have three wins apiece in their last six ODI encounters, with their last meeting coming at the 2015 World Cup (India won by 76 runs).
• This will be the fourth Champions Trophy game between these two, with Pakistan winning two of the previous three.
• Including this fixture, three of their four Champions Trophy matches have been hosted at Edgbaston.
• India have won their last three matches at Edgbaston, twice against England and once against Pakistan; their last defeat at the Birmingham venue coming in 2007.
• Going into this event, India had a 71% win rate in the Champions Trophy, the best of any side, this despite making it out of the group stage just once in their last four attempts.
• India have won seven of the nine matches played against Pakistan across the World Cup and Champions Trophy.
• Ravichandran Ashwin needs five wickets to reach 150 in ODIs, he will be the 13th man to achieve this for India if he manages it.
• Since the start of 2016, Virat Kohli has hit 924 ODI runs at an average of 84; the best average of anyone to bat in 5+ innings in that timeframe.
• If MS Dhoni bats in this match it will be his 250th ODI innings (246 for India, 3 for Asia XI), he is one of just five players to have scored 5,000 ODI runs and averaged 50+ ( AB de Villiers, Michael Bevan, Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla).
• Dhoni has averaged 58.4 across his 29 ODI innings against Pakistan; only one man (AB de Villiers) has a better rate against them (20+ innings).
India: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fahim Ashraf , Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail.