Cricket Expert & Columnist
ICC Champions Trophy: India "well primed" for Pakistan final
Last Updated: 16/06/17 6:11am
Michael Atherton says India look "well primed" for the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan at The Oval.
The defending champions easily overcame Bangladesh in Thursday's semi-final at Edgbaston, cruising to a nine-wicket victory chasing 265, with Rohit Sharma scoring a sublime 123 not out and Virat Kohli cracking an unbeaten 96.
India's win sets up a mouth-watering final featuring the "biggest rivalry in cricket", according to Atherton, who added that Pakistan's best chance of victory would be to win the toss and chase on Sunday.
"India look well primed for the final," Atherton told Sky Sports. "It's hard to pick holes in their team. They look very well-balanced, with good pace bowlers and good spinners, plus their batting line-up - the top order, at least - looks in very good form.
"In terms of numbers, Sunday's final features the biggest rivalry in cricket because billions of people in India and Pakistan watching. It has also been a fairly bitter rivalry as well over the years for various reasons.
"As a player, you've got to try and deal with it as just another game, because if you think about all those people watching, and that it's the final of a global tournament, there is a chance the game becomes too big.
"But India look in fantastic form, and seven of this team played in the match to win the Champions Trophy four years ago. They've got very experienced players used to knockout cricket and used to playing under pressure.
"I do think though they are a better team when they are chasing runs, when they know what they've got to score to win, so I think that's Pakistan's best chance.
"Pakistan put England into bat early in the other semi-final at Cardiff and if Sarfraz Ahmed wins the toss come the final, he should get India in as sometimes they aren't quite certain of how hard to go up front, how late to leave it for that middle-order dash.
"They don't want to leave it too late against Pakistan given the way they bowled at the death to England. It was absolutely fantastic.
"Pakistan are a very emotional team. They really do rise and fall, and they are on a bit of a high at the moment, so India will also be wary of that.
"But Pakistan won't want India chasing, Virat Kohli chasing. I can't think that there's a better player in the world at doing it."
Watch India take on Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am this Sunday.