Pakistan once a giant in world cricket and now reduced to the sixth spot in ICC world ranking will be looking for redemption in Champions Trophy beginning 1st of June in England. And what better way to start their campaign than against the arch-rivals India on 4th of June.
Pakistan also called as green shirts will be lead by inexperienced Sarfraz Ahmed and it will be a huge test for the young captain leading his side against Men in Blue in their opening game.
Pakistan managed to qualify into ICC Champions Trophy 2017, courtesy of their clean-sweep against minnows Zimbabwe in May 2015, while also gaining from England’s whitewashing of the West Indies.
Let's analyse how tough a contender Pakistan is for the title of Champions Trophy 2017.
As far as batting is considered Pakistan will heavily rely on middle-order with batsmen like Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez to stabilise the innings and play a pivotal role.
Babar Azam, the 22-year-old batsman is undoubtedly the team's X-factor player and ha has been very consistent with the bat in the 50 over format.
Since 2016, Azam has smashed 1092 runs in just 19 matches at an average of almost 60.
As far as bowling is considered, Pakistan will rely on pace duo of Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali. Since making his debut for Pakistan, Ali has scalped 29 wickets in just 16 matches.
Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan are two of the most experienced bowlers in the squad and they are familiar with the conditions in England. But they have been inconsistent with their form. Since 2016, Riaz has only picked up 9 wickets in 11 matches.
Unlike ICC World Cup and T20, Pakistan has a better record against India in the competition as they have won two and lost one of their previous meetings.
"We have a better record against India in the Champions Trophy, not in other competitions. We are looking to maintain that against them and it's very exciting," said Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed at his pre-tournament press conference.
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Fahim Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Shadab Khan
June 4: India v Pakistan, Birmingham, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 7: Pakistan v South Africa, Birmingham, 6:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 12: Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
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