The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 climaxes with a dream final tomorrow at the Oval: India vs Pakistan. It is the most intense rivalry in cricket – which often takes the colours of patriotism and even jingoism and religion. The media in both India and Pakistan hype it like nothing else. There are folklores from cricket history to spice up this contest too – like Javed Miandad’s last-ball six to win the Australasia Trophy in Sharjah, like Sachin Tendulkar’s blistering innings agaisnt Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Yunis at the Centurioun in the 2003 World Cup, or like MS Dhoni-led India’s dramatic victory in the inaugural World T-20 win. To borrow an old phrase, it is war minus shooting.
Amidst all the hype and hoopla, cricket usually remains the same. The team that bats, bowls and fields better on that day will win. The essence of cracking the cricket betting puzzle is to stay away from the hype and figure out which team is most likely to bat, bowl and field better. Let’s try to find it out.
India – Preview
India were absolutely dominant against Bangladesh in the semi final. They seemed to be playing at an auto pilot mode – that is, without putting much of an effort. Still, they appear miles ahead of Bangladesh in all facets of the game. It is true that you are only as good as the opposition allows you to become. Pakistan’s bowling is far more formidable than Bangladesh’s. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli are not likely to have a walk in the park in the final as they did in the semi. The strength of India’s middle-order will be tested against the strong bowling attack of Pakistan.
R Ashwin was not that effective in the last two matches. India may bring in Mohammad Shami or even Umesh Yadav in his place. Other than that there is not going to be any change in the team. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Raveendra Jadeja are in excellent form. India will emerge as the better fielding team. They hold an edge in batting as well. But in cricket, result is decided by the bowlers, especially in finals. So, where to place the money in cricket betting? If India can match Pakistan in bowling, Champions Trophy will be theirs.
Preview – Pakistan
Pakistan will be unpredictable. They will be as confident of facing India as India is of facing them. Over the last few years, India have gained a dicisive upper hand in the contests between these countries. Still, if Pakistan bowls like they did against England, we will have a cracking game on Sunday. Mohammad Amir is available for selection. But his replacement in the last game – the debutante Rumman Raees – bowled like a seasoned pro against England. Pakistan can think of fitting in both these players into the eleven.
For Pakistan, batting is bit of a worry. Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed are in good nick. But the others have been inconsistent. The problem for Pakistan is going to be the hitting power in slog overs. Indian pace bowlers can get the yorkers right in the slog overs. Pakistan does not seem to possess a good enough hard-hitter to take care of those. The best option for Pakistan will be to win the toss, bowl first, limit India to a reasonably low total and chase it down. If India bat second, Kohli and company will chase any score down ruthlessly.
Prediction for Cricket betting
The match is billed as a battle between India’s batting and Pakistan’s bowling. But it is more going to be like India’s bowling and Pakistan’s bowling. The team that bowls better is going to win. Our prediction? India should edge out Pakistan and lift the Champions Trophy.
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