Pakistan qualifies for ICC Champions Trophy Final.
How Many Times Pakistan Qualify for ICC Champions Trophy Final?
If you have not been keeping pace with Pakistan’s cricket history, it may come as a surprise. It is the first time that Pakistan Cricket Team qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy Final.
The Tale of the Qualification to the ICC Champions Trophy Final
It is never easy being a fan of the Pakistan Cricket Team. You have to ride a bumpy road of emotions with highs and lows. Sometimes you are up; at other times you are down. The so-called unpredictability mostly goes against your gut instincts and sometimes surprises the most powerful of the opponents.
Pakistan had to fight tooth and nail just to qualify for playing in the ICC. We had to fight our way up from the bottom, competing with the other unpredictable cricket team West Indies. We came in the 8th position to barely qualify for the tournament.
A Massive Defeat Against India
The first match dried up all hopes of Pakistan team even remaining in the competition. It was more of a one-sided affair. Indian side made a score of 319 runs for Pakistan to chase. However, the Pakistani side had to make a revised total of 324 runs. Pakistan team fell short of the target by 124 runs. It was a crushing defeat for the fans and portrayed a negative outlook. The poor quality of bowling, missed catches, subpar batting, and overall abysmal performance made the fans gloomy.
Toppling the Top ODI Side
However, against South Africa, Pakistan emerged an altogether different side. They went as a less favorite team against the best ranked ODI side. Some excellent bowling made it difficult for South Africa to score runs freely. The entire team could only muster up 219 runs for 8 in 50 overs. Pakistan was chasing the total with 119 for the loss of three wickets when it started raining. Pakistan won the match under the Duckworth-Lewis Method.
A Less Than Convincing Victory Against Sri Lanka
Pakistan did continue its winning streak against a relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan team. Sri Lankan middle order could not add a lot of runs on the board with just 236 in 50 overs. Pakistan had a shaky chase with some of the top order batsmen falling like a house of cards. However, thanks to the heroics of Muhammad Amir and Sarfraz, Pakistan completed the target in 44.5 overs.
A Comfortable Semi-Final Against England
England had won their last match against the hot-favorite Aussies. Therefore, they were pretty confident about having the game in their favor. However, Pakistan had other things in plan for the English team. England could only gather a measly total of 211 runs with one ball to spare of its allotted 50 overs. On the other hand, Pakistan had a historic run chase. The left-hand, right-hand combo of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman had one of the most composed innings in a run chase by Pakistan. Both the batsmen made half-centuries before departing towards the pavilion. No one can question the performance by Hasan Ali (Man of the Match) for his outstanding performance in the match. He currently ranks as the most wicket taking bowler in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
ICC Champions Trophy Final – The Challenges Ahead
ICC Champions Trophy Final is not going to be an easy task. No doubt Pakistan will play the ICC Champions Trophy Final. The second semi-final between Bangladesh and India will decide which team is going to play the ICC Champions Trophy Final against Pakistan. Cricket is by chance, and there can be upsets. However, so far, India remains the favorite between the two teams to qualify for the finals.
Pakistan has not been able to perform better against India in big tournaments. Therefore, India will have a psychological edge over the Pakistan Cricket Team.
A Difficult Ground for Both India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan do not have a lot of success playing at the Kennington Oval Cricket Ground.
- Pakistan played 9 ODI matches on this ground and only won 2 out of them.
- India played 14 ODI matches on this ground and had only won 5.
India played its last two ICC 2017 matches on this ground, one it lost against Sri Lanka by seven wickets and the other it won by eight wickets against South Africa.
Winning of the ICC Champions Trophy Final Against India or Bangladesh
Pakistan Cricket Team will have to bring its best game on the pitch. The last thing fans need is missing easy catches. It would be a great test of Pakistani cricket fans seeing India VS Pakistan ICC final. Sarfraz and Co must not give out easy runs. They need to bat the entire 50 overs and do not start losing wickets at regular intervals. India is equally good at putting big totals on board and chasing them. Therefore, the Pakistani bowlers will have to deliver something out of the ordinary to get early wickets. Besides a bit of luck, a flawless performance in the final is the key to victory.
What if Bangladesh Qualifies for the Finals?
Well, cricket is full of surprises. Bangladesh never ceases to surprise its fans. Although, it would be a tough one to pull off for the Bangladesh team in the semi-final against India. But if they manage to win over India, Pakistan will need to take them seriously. They need to come out with the winning mindset and a positive body language. Otherwise, Bangladesh has the potential to win against any team on a given day.
Pakistan cannot afford to take any chances in the final. For example, playing an expensive bowler can be a difference between winning and losing. Therefore, the team will have to play its best combination with a well-balanced side.