India enters Champions Trophy final with a Bang

 By Kersi Meher-Homji

At the semi final stage, it looks more like Asia Cup than Champions Trophy. Three of the four teams in the semi finals were from Asia; India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Interestingly, before 1947 it was just one country ”“ India!

After trouncing Bangladesh by 9 wickets with 59 balls in hand at Birmingham last night, India entered the final and will meet old rivals Pakistan at The Oval, London on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Pakistan had convincingly beaten the home team England by 8 wickets with 77 balls remaining.

Both India and Pakistan are in sparkling form. If India wins the final on Sunday they will retain the Trophy they had won in 2013 by beating England in England by five runs.

The Indian batsmen, especially openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, are in majestic form. Not to forget skipper Virat Kohli who averages an incredible 253.00 with the bat.

India won the toss and sent Bangladesh into bat. They must have started to regret it when Bangla was 2 for 154 at half way stage. But then wickets started tumbling and they could total 7 for 264 after 50 overs.

Dhawan and Sharma attacked with gusto and put on 87 runs off 88 balls before Dhawan was dismissed for 46. Then Kohli joined Sharma and it was massacre of the innocents as they put on 178 runs for the unbroken second wicket off only 153 balls.

Man of the match Sharma hit an unbeaten 123 off 129 balls with 15 fours and a six. Kohli smashed an unbeaten 96 in 78 balls with 13 fours.

Dhawan has amassed the most number of runs so far in the 2017 Champions Trophy; 317 at 79.25, highest score 125. Sharma comes a close second, 304 at 101.33 (HS 123 not out). Kohli has stroked 253 runs at 253.00 (HS 96 not out). All three are in the running to receive the Golden Bat, awarded to the batsman scoring most runs.

So come on Pakistan, India is ready. In the first match of this Trophy on 4th June, India had trounced Pakistan by 124 runs. However, no need to be cocksure, Virat’s men! Pakistan is riding high after beating Sri Lanka and then slaughtering England in the first semi-final.


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