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Strategies that India and Pakistan would like to work on to win the final of Champions Trophy

Here's what the teams need to do to get the better of the opposition.

Virat Kohli of India India-South Africa
Virat Kohli of India leads the team off the field. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It’s the mother of all clashes in the ICC Champions Trophy final. India will take on the arch-rivals Pakistan to decide the champion of champions. Three weeks ago, when the tournament was building up, who would have thought that we’ll witness an all Asian finale, that too between these sides. After 14 matches, it has all boiled down to this blockbuster clash.

India had defeated Pakistan earlier in the Group B match. It was a completely one-sided contest where the defending champions steamrolled to victory. But a lot has changed since. Pakistan went on to defeat the World No.1 side South Africa and then Sri Lanka to reach the semi-final where they knocked out the tournament favorites England to set up the summit clash against the neighbors.

India, on the other hand, were shocked by Sri Lanka in the second group match. But they made a storming comeback and outplayed South Africa and then Bangladesh in the semi-final. It now promises to be a mouth-watering clash as each of the sides would look to get the better of the opposition. And how are they going to do that?

Let’s take a look at some of the strategies that both sides can use to emerge victorious

India

#1 Play out the new ball

In the previous clash between the sides, Mohammad Amir bowled a tremendous first over to Rohit Sharma. Pakistan made a mistake of bowling Imad Wasim with the new ball which is unlikely to happen again. Junaid Khan is expected to accompany Amir at the start and the duo will be a formidable attack with the new ball.

If the ball moves slightly in the air, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will have a hard time. They would need to handle the early burst from the pacers with caution. After 3 overs from either end, the movement is bound to stop and that’s when the batsmen can up the ante.

#2 Pick up early wickets

Pakistan have been batting second in the last 3 games and what has helped their cause while chasing is the explosive batting of Fakhar Zaman. He has scored 31, 50 and 57 in the last 3 innings, all in quick time. The right-hander going after the bowling has given Azhar Ali the luxury to play his natural game.

India would need to get Fakhar out as soon as possible. If he stays for a certain duration, he is capable of changing the course of the match. The new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will have the onus to remove him at the start. If he is dismissed early, it will create pressure on Azhar and he will be forced to go for the big shots which is not his cup of tea.

#3 Spinners to create pressure

It’s a fact that whenever Indian spinners pick wickets during the middle overs, the chances of a victory increase. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are both world-class spinners but the concern they will have is that Pakistani batsmen handle the spin quite well. Hence, there will be added responsibility on them to create pressure.

India struggled with the 5th bowler in previous games as Hardik Pandya went for runs. Kedar Jadhav came to the rescue against Bangladesh but that’s not going to happen every day. That’s where Ashwin and Jadeja need to step up. They need to apply the brakes on the scoring so as to nullify the impact of the fifth bowler.

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