India is going to beat Pakistan in 2017 Champions Trophy. No, this isn’t what Nostradamus or that Oracle lady from Matrix predicted. Those things are hokum. This prediction is based on meticulous, precise, scientifically proven methods found in the secret diaries of Duckworth and Lewis. Yes, this means you don’t have to worry if you don’t get all of it.
Disclaimer: No bookies were consulted while drafting this article.
India and Pakistan rarely play each other these days. There are no bilateral series. Pakistan players don’t participate in IPL, and Indian players don’t have permission from BCCI to go out in the night alone so they don’t play any other T20 leagues.
This means that while Pakistan knows everything about the strengths and weaknesses of Indian players, their own players are relatively unknown commodities. The art of war said all warfare is based on deception (Yes, I realise some people take the word “war” too seriously in our parts of the world but relax, it’s just a book and we are discussing just a game). The young Pakistani players have a chance to dazzle the Indian players before they realise what hit them.
Pakistan 1. India 0.
There is a huge experience gap between the two teams. To get an idea, notwithstanding a tour of minnows Zimbabwe, the Indian squad has two players, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni who have played international cricket in Pakistan while Pakistan squad has just one, Shoaib Malik. Remember Pervez Musharraf? He complimented Dhoni for his hairstyle. Yep, that old.
The pressure of India vs Pakistan contest gets to the best, and experience is your only ally when you know that about one-fifth of earth’s population is following your every move on the ground.
Pakistan 1. India 1.
Both Sarfraz and Kohli are one series old as full-time ODI captains. But Kohli has lead been leading India in test matches for a while and has an enviable record as captain. In an India-Pakistan contest, the role of a captain is more important than any other game. He isn’t there just to strategize but to truly lead. Kohli clearly scores over Sarfraz as a leader.
Pakistan 1. India 2.
The core of this Indian squad is still the same as the one that won Champions Trophy in England in 2013. They know the grounds and pitches better than Pakistan. They can travel on the Tube in London without getting lost and know where exactly they can find the best samosas for late night cravings. With better knowledge of conditions, India will be more at home. In cricket, home advantage is everything.
Pakistan 1. India 3.
India has defeated Pakistan in their last two international games, World Cup 2015 and World T20 2016. You may say that it’s absurd to talk about momentum from two-year-old matches and that would mean you haven’t been hearing international captains enough during press conferences. The law of conservation of cricket momentum states that momentum can neither be created nor be destroyed, it can only be claimed in a press conference after a win and kept indefinitely unless claimed by the opponent. You can’t argue with science.
Pakistan 1. India 4.
He is so good that fans in Pakistan are prepared to do prison time for him Pakistani Kohli fan facing 10 years in jail for hoisting Indian flag.
He is a big match player and brings out his A-game against arch rivals. He is so good that every promising Pakistan player is christened “Next Kohli” by some coach or the media. Pakistan is not just in awe of his batting but also his style. It is rumoured that when Imran Khan used to tour India, Bollywood starlets would queue up to get a glimpse of him. That kind of hero worship of opposition captain in your own country would deflate the spirits of Indian cricketers. Pakistan players will be in similar awe of Kohli knowing his fan following back home and will be too starstruck to perform.
Pakistan 1. India 5.
Given how much of an overwhelming favorite India is to win this game, you may be wondering what’s the point of playing the match at all. They may as well declare Indian team the winners and get it done with. But then what will the fans of both sides do? We need our annual banter fest on twitter to deal with the hollowness of our daily lives. I know a friend who has been drafting tweets to troll Pakistan on June 4 since the last three months. He went into depression and had to see a therapist when BCCI threatened to pull out of Champions Trophy. He is now back to normal and is busy memorizing stats from previous India-Pakistan encounters to earn the reputation of an “informed troll”.
To my Pakistani friends, you have no reason to be disappointed for the inevitable loss. You still have Coke Studio and Mahira Khan. Cheers.