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Pakistan vs India, Champions Trophy final 2017

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What is it?

It’s the final of the Champions Trophy 2017. Pakistan, who knocked England out this week, face fierce rivals India, who overcame Bangladesh in comprehensive fashion on Thursday.

What time will it start?

The toss will be shortly after 10am, and the first ball will be bowled at 10.30am.

What’s the weather forecast?

This being England (and Wales), the competition couldn’t have gone without the weather affecting things in some way.

Indeed, rain played a significant role in Australia’s exit from the competition, but the sun has been out for the majority of this week and the forecast is great for Sunday.

The weatherman says we should expect lots of sun, highs of 30C and a low chance of any rain. Look:

Pace bowler Mohammad Amir is fit and will play for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday, according to coach Mickey Arthur.

A back spasm kept Amir out as Pakistan defeated hosts England brilliantly on Wednesday but Arthur is now pinning his hopes on a full-strength attack to contain India’s batsmen better than most other sides have managed so far.

“If we can get amongst them with the new ball, we can expose the middle order that hasn’t batted much in this competition, so that’s pretty much our aim and focus,” the South African Arthur said on Saturday.

Probable teams

India: V Kohli (Captain), R Sharma, S Dhawan, Y Singh, MS Dhoni (wkt), K Yadav, H Pandya, R Jadeja, R Ashwin, B Kumar, J Bumrah

Pakistan: A Ali, F Zaman, B Azam, M Hafeez, S Malik, S Ahmed (Captain, wkt), I Wasim, M Amir, S Khan, H Ali, J Khan

Umpires: M Erasmus (SA) and R Kettleborough (Eng)
Third umpire: R Tucker (Aus)
Match referee: D Boon (Aus)

What are they saying?

Virat Kohli’s knack of dealing with the expectations of 600 million cricket-crazy India supporters will be put to the test as never before in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan.

A global broadcast audience of more than half-a-billion is being projected for Sunday’s showdown between two of the sport’s fiercest rivals.

Kohli will be cast centre stage as India captain in front of a mere 24,500 sell-out crowd at The Oval, and his primary task will be to keep his composure at the crease and in the field as the overwhelming favourites bid to retain their title.

At the age of 28, his stellar career to date has made him an expert at setting aside the scrutiny and pressure – to the tune of 27 one-day international hundreds and counting, for example.

It is quite a feat, and one which has had to be learned and honed.

“You can’t think of those things when you step on to the field,” said Kohli.

“I know there are expectations, I know there are people that expect the team and me to do well every time we play. But I understand as a player and as a person that it’s not possible.

Instead, his personal method is to visualise success and have faith in his and his team’s ability, but not to believe in miracles.

“You have to be close to reality,” said Kohli. “This is a part of being an Indian cricketer, you have to find a way to deal with it.

“You can’t ignore it. You have to maintain a balance and then focus on what you need to do on the field.

“I think I’ve been able to strike a good balance until now and I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

Off the pitch, he cites a selective approach to Twitter et al as a handy tactic too.

“The biggest thing is to stay off social media,” said the India captain.

“It sounds funny, but honestly it’s so important to stay away from those things – to connect to things that matter, the things that a sportsman needs to take care of.

“If you’re too distracted listening to too many suggestions or players or criticism, then you can’t focus on what you need to think as a sportsman first to be able to lead the team and then help the others in the team as well.

“The more relaxed you stay in these situations it’s a good thing, because it helps you take better decisions when you are composed and calm mentally.”

What happened last time?

Yes, these teams have already played each other in this competition – it was their first match of the Champions Trophy and took place on 4 June.

India posted an impressive 319/3, before rain shortened the match and Pakistan were set a revised target of 289 to win in 41 overs. They fell well short, and were bowled out for just 164.