The ICC, marketers and the sponsors will be licking their lips when favourites India take on underdogs Pakistan in the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday © Getty Images
The ICC, marketers and the sponsors will be licking their lips when favourites India take on underdogs Pakistan in the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday © Getty Images

It is the ICC’s wildest dream coming true — India and Pakistan locking horns in the final of an ICC event after 10 years. A single match between these two teams sets the TRPs soaring. The second one in this tournament has come as a bonus for the apex body of the game. The marketers and the sponsors too will be licking their lips when favourites India take on underdogs Pakistan in the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday. All the viewership records are set to be broken. The streets across the two nations are going to wear a deserted look when the match goes underway at 15:00 hours IST. Live cricket scorecard: India vs Pakistan, CT 2017 final

Both the teams had a contrasting start to the tournament. While India beat their arch-rivals comprehensively by 124 runs in their tournament opener, Pakistan started on a terrible note and were almost instantly written off. However, the mercurial side made a resounding comeback as they went on to beat South Africa, Sri Lanka and England to book a berth in the final. India did have a minor hiccup when Sri Lanka gunned down the 322-run target set by them, but they beat South Africa fair and square to reach the semis, where they thrashed Bangladesh. As the two teams now gear up for the summit clash, let us take a look at their road to the finals.

India

Beat Pakistan by 124 runs: Indian batsmen gave the Pakistani bowlers a solid beating, posting a massive 319 runs in the 48 overs. Rohit Sharma (91), Shikhar Dhawan (68), Virat Kohli (81)*and Yuvraj Singh’s quick-fire 53 flattened Pakistan. Hardik Pandya’s three sixes in the final over were the final nail in coffin. In reply, Pakistan were never in the hunt and were bundled out for 164 chasing 289 in 41 overs (DLS score).

Lost to Sri Lanka by 7 wickets: Another impressive performance by the batsmen saw India posting 321 runs on the board. Dhawan (125) and Rohit (78) were the chief contributors once again, but Kohli had a rare failure as he fell for a duck. MS Dhoni (63) also came to the party. India thought they had enough runs on the board. But their bowlers had a rare off day, as a 159-run second-wicket stand between Danushka Gunathilaka (76) and Kusal Mendis (89) set the foundation for a Sri Lankan win. Kusal Perera retired after more than run-a-ball 47, but skipper Angelo Mathews (52)* and Asela Gunaratne (34)* guided the team home.

India-Pakistan

Beat South Africa by 8 wickets: Winning the toss, Kohli invited South Africa to bat first in the virtual quarter-final. After a good start, South Africa lost the plot in the middle overs, only to get bundled out for a paltry 191. They were 140 for 2 in the 29th over, but lost their last 8 wickets for a mere 51 runs. In reply, it was a cakewalk for India, with the master of chases Kohli once again going unbeaten on 76. Dhawan went past 50 for the third time in as many innings, scoring 78, while Yuvraj finished it off along with Kohli.

Beat Bangladesh by 9 wickets in the semi-final: A lot of things happened before the semi-final. Bangladesh’s fans were back to their ugly tactics on social media. Lot of people called it a revenge match for them, after India beat them in the World Cup 2015 quarter-final, which was dominated by the controversial no-ball talks, and the 1-run win at the World T20 last year. Bangladesh started well, and riding on Tamim Iqbal’s and Mushfiqur Rahim’s fifties, looked poised to reach 325-run mark at one stage. However, part-timer Kedar Jadhav sent back both the batsmen and applied brakes on run-scoring. Bangladesh lost quick wickets there on and ended on a mediocre 264. In reply, India were always on course of a big win, with Rohit slamming his maiden Champions Trophy hundred (123)* and Kohli hammering 96*. This was his third unbeaten fifty in four games. India strolled to the target losing just a single wicket in 40 overs.

Pakistan

Lost to India by 124 runs: Explained above. The loss came in such a manner for Pakistan that the side was completely written off. But how they scripted a comeback to reach to the finals is not less than a fairytale.

Beat South Africa by 19 runs (DLS method): Pakistan bowlers, led by Hasan Ali, restricted South Africa to a modest 219. In reply, debutant Fakhar Zaman got his side off to a flyer, scoring 23-ball 31. Babar Azam (31)*, Mohammad Hafeez (26) and Shoaib Malik (19)* then kept the side ahead in the rain-marred contest. When the play was called off, Pakistan were ahead by 19 runs and were adjudged the winners.

Beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets: Same story unfolded as Sri Lanka, after a decent start, let the game slip off their hands by managing just 236 runs on the board. Pakistan pacers Hasan and Junaid Khan picked up three wickets, while Mohammad Aamer took two wickets. In reply, Pakistan being Pakistan made heavy weather of the chase by losing wickets in heaps. Zaman scored a fifty at the top and Azhar Ali scored 34, but the middle-order flopped, leaving Sarfraz Ahmed (61)* with a huge task. The skipper found able ally in Aamer (28)*, as the two added 75 runs in unfinished eighth-wicket stand to guide the team home.

Beat England by 8 wickets in the semi-final: England were the favourites, but Pakistan sent them packing with a clinical performance. First their bowlers restricted a powerhouse batting unit to mere 211, courtesy Hasan (3 wickets), Junaid (2 wickets) and debutant Rumman Raees (2 wickets). Aamer missed this game but his absence was not felt. In reply, Zaman (57), Azhar (76), Babar (38)* and Hafeez (31)* took Pakistan home with 8 wickets and 13 overs to spare.